LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One year ago, Steve Conrad was introduced as the second chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, replacing Robert White. What a year it has been.
It gave Conrad the chance to return home and to lead the department in his hometown. He remembers being excited, but also very aware of the weight of responsibility.
"You never want to hear a police chief admit this and most men never want to admit this but I was a little afraid," Conrad said. "I knew what I was getting into in terms of the challenges this community faces and the department faces but I'd never been here in the role of chief."
The new chief was sworn in a month later. Two months after that, the moment that would shape his first year.
"May 17th when we had the terrible shooting in the Parkland neighborhood," Conrad said. "I've really talked about it as being a defining moment for our community, a bit of a wake up call,"
The chief now finds himself getting ready to work with the Metro's newly named Director of Safe Neighborhoods to put into action the recommendations of the Violence Prevention Task Force, many of which have little to do with the police department.
"We can't arrest our way out of the problems that we have," Conrad said. "It's going to take changes in the way we think and the way we act."
Conrad has also made some changes himself, creating a Crime Information Center to analyze and share information as well as the VIPER Unit to go after the worst repeat offenders. Is it working? So far in 2013, the Metro has only had three murders. The police chief is hesitant to make a link.
"When there are reductions, the police department's not taking the credit and equally when there are increases, I don't want the police department to take the blame, at least not all of it," said Conrad. "If you are a family member of one of one of those people, we've had three too many."
That fits in with the chief's goals for year two: to look back now, learn and grow.
"To figure out what we can do better next year because if we're not improving, we're not serving anybody," said Conrad.
In a very hectic first year, Conrad said a few things have gotten pushed to the side. He's made a commitment to go out on patrol one day a month, but would like to be able to do it more. He'd also like to get more involved in community events in the future.
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