One of first recommendations to curb violence criticized - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

One of first recommendations to curb violence criticized

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Chris Poynter Chris Poynter
Councilman Kelly Downard Councilman Kelly Downard

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The first long-term recommendation made by a task force to prevent violence in Louisville is under fire.

Mayor Greg Fischer's spokesperson, Chris Poynter, said Tuesday they've received a lot of resumes for the Director of Violence Prevention and plan to narrow the list down to the top two or three candidates in a few weeks.

Republican Councilman Kelly Downard, who represents the northeast part of the city, said he has numerous concerns about the new position in the Mayor's office that will pay between 70 and 90 thousand dollars per year. "I wonder if this job is what people say it will be," Downard said. "It's enormous."

Poynter said they want someone "who wakes up every morning and goes to bed every night thinking about how do you reduce violence." On the job, he said the new director will coordinate with police, non-profits and government officials to make Louisville safer. "We want everything. We want this super candidate, and that's why you see the job description as a really wide job description."

Without it, Poynter said there's a good chance the work group's recommendations will just fall to the wayside and the violence will continue, citing the report the State of African-American Youth in Louisville released by the Louisville Urban League in 2001. That report was never fully implemented. "(Mayor Fischer) wants to make sure that this report does not sit on a shelf, that its recommendations are implemented, and that's why he's hiring this person," Poynter said.

Downard said the job is not a serious attempt at fixing violence in Louisville and the Mayor is only hiring someone because the panel suggested it. "We have no goal set for this," Downard said. "There's no method to measure it, and therefore, at what time will this job succeed or fail?" Downard added there are "7,000 employees in this city and there's no one to pull together 15 suggestions?"

When asked what he would do to fix Louisville's crime, Downward replied, "If I had an answer to that, then I'd apply for this job, but it's a very difficult, very deep-rooted issue."

Downard said he just learned of the new position last week through the media, though he was given a copy of the work group's findings when they were released in October.

The money for the new position will come from nonessential vacant positions in the Louisville Metro Police Department. Poynter said they plan to have someone hired at the beginning of 2013.

You can read the full report issued by the Mayor's work group by clicking here.

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