LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A group of Louisville activists who have long been requesting a meeting with the Louisville Metro Police Department were able to sit down with the chief to discuss issues within the community.
Citizens of Louisville Organizing and United Together, or CLOUT, came out of their Wednesday meeting with Chief Steve Conrad calling it a “breakthrough.” They said they’ve been working to achieve the meeting for more than two years.
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Despite the time it took for the meeting to take place, LMPD said they’ve always sought to be engaged with the issues at hand.
“I think we’ve been at the table the entire two and a half years,” LMPD spokesperson Jessie Halladay said. “So, I think it’s just a process and I think the chief has always been willing to listen.”
The faith-based group has expressed concerns regarding police encounters with members of the community, specifically those with mental illness or drug abuse problems. By addressing the issues with city leaders, CLOUT believes the safety of citizens and police officers alike could improve.
During the meeting with Conrad, CLOUT members claimed the internal review of police conduct has too much discretion. They want an outside review of police to be supplemented by an Office of Inspector General or an Office of Independent Monitoring, which would focus on incidents involving police.
They also expanded on their call for police de-escalation.
“As we look around our city and see so many incidences of individuals who in some sense aren’t being treated fairly, or perhaps conduct that is not becoming of our city, that they’re [police] looking at that and seeing this is not who we want to be and we’re going to make the necessary steps to make sure that all of our citizens, our most vulnerable citizens included, are being treated fairly,” member Reverend Reginald Barnes said.
Just a year ago, the group arranged for 600 cards signed by Louisville citizens to be delivered to Mayor Fischer’s office, which led to a meeting with the mayor himself. They said that meeting was their first with Fischer in seven years. Two other meetings with Fischer and his staff followed, according to CLOUT.
Following the meeting with Conrad, the group seemed hopeful for positive reform in the metro.
“The chief seemed very sincere and we’re going to find out over the next couple of months, as we gather some of the information he told us he would give us and as we continue to dialogue with LMPD,” Barnes said.
CLOUT hopes to meet with Conrad again in August to continue the conversation.