LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Victims of crime in Louisville will soon get more assistance thanks to federal grants received by Louisville Metro Police and several partner agencies.
Three new grants totaling around $1.4 million will allow the Louisville Metro Police Department to hire five more full-time victims’ advocates. These advocates assist with anything from emergency housing and transportation to going to court with someone in need.
“Which will allow our staff to grow from two full-time advocates to a total of 7,” Conrad said.
The grant was announced the same week police Chief Steve Conrad said he will begin discussing with the Metro Council Public Safety Committee how the department plans to cut back positions due to Metro budget shortfalls.
“That is a challenging process for us,” Conrad said. “This is the only part of the department that I’m proud to say we are adding additional employees... At a time when budget cuts are forcing us to rethink how we operate, and we’re still trying to figure out ways to meet the needs of this community, its truly exciting to have the opportunity to be able to use grant funding to be able to support the advocacy that is so important to the victims of violent crime."
The Victim’s Service Squad offers free services to help victims cope with trauma and the aftermath of victimization and to lessen inconveniences in the criminal justice process.
Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said she understands the positive impact law enforcement can have on victims.
“I know what that’s like, to lie there on the floor in a pool of blood and wondering who is going to show up,” Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith said, detailing the still vivid moments she was the victim of a violent attack around 40 years ago. “It was a police officer that showed up to hold my hand and to guide me through that.”
LMPD leaders said they hope to keep the positions staffed when the grants expire. Advocates said the additional positions are needed because they see roughly 100 cases a month, related to adult sexual assault, crimes against children and felony domestic violence.
Nicole Carroll, Director of LMPD Victim Services Unit, said she hopes the grant will help the unit expand.
“Criminal traffic fatalities because there is a need for those crime victims,” Carroll said. “We’re in conversations with robbery. So, we’re growing and expanding.”
One of the grants will also allow the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office and Center for Women and Families to get extra training related to human trafficking and domestic violence.
Conrad noted that the grants are budget-neutral for LMPD and won’t free up other resources.