LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Metro Police Department has sworn in its newest class of officers. It comes around the same time that we’ve learned dozens of officers have already retired this year amid the city’s looming budget crisis. However, those retirements are not stopping the newest officers from doing their job to the fullest.
After six months of training, 40 recruits graduated from the training program and were sworn in as officers. Although they now have their badges and police powers, there is still more training ahead for all of them and each one is ready to make a difference.
Graduating class president Phillip McPheeters received a standing ovation for what he had to say.
“The need and the cries of the community ... that’s what drives us,” McPheeters said. “The needs, and to be able to be in a position that we can help, that’s what it’s about; being in a position to meet people where they are.”
McPheeters and his classmates will be the last to graduate for 11 months. LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said that's the norm now and they have to move forward.
"It will cause us to make changes," Conrad said, "and we are working as a command staff to develop plans to that end."
Conrad was asked about the positions that have already been vacated this year by people retiring or taking positions elsewhere amid a city budget shortfall and a statewide pension crisis.
"We were projecting 120 people or so leaving, we've had about 60 leave already so far in the fiscal year and we're only two and a half months into that," Conrad said. "I don't know if it will be any different that what we're projecting. But we will do our absolute best to address the calls as they come along."
No matter the circumstances, McPheeters said his job doesn't change and neither does he.
"Policies change, you know, but it shouldn't change the way our heart drives, and the heart in which we do things," McPheeters siad. "And so, my hope for this class and being agents of change is to take what we've learned in the academy, and put it into action."
It will be August 2020 before the next graduating class of officers takes place.