LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Less than one week into her new job, LMPD Chief Erika Shields described changes she intends to bring to the department.
“The majority of your violence is occurring in the areas least wanting to see the police presence. Understandably so,” Shields said.
Shields takes control of a department reeling from a loss of public trust, poor morale, and an out of control wave of deadly violence.
“You first internally start to make employees aware of why there is this lack of reluctance toward police, the history of policing, how are your actions perceived?” Shields said. “Because the reality of it is, the police presence in a white community generally means something very different in the Black community. You have to have these conversations.”
In addition to communication, Shields is looking inside LMPD at morale and training. She resigned as Police Chief in Atlanta after an officer shot and killed an unarmed Black man, Rayshard Brooks.
Shields said training for use of force, in the department responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor, will also be looked at for possible improvements.
“I think that when I look at Rayshard Brooks,” Shields said, “there were things that we could’ve done at a training level that would have hedged our bets against the officer engaging in a better decision-making at the front end.”
Shields said she is “still getting (her) arms around” training for LMPD officers. She said officers need to know their work will be supported.
“I think it’s fair to say officers of LMPD did not enjoy this past year,” Shields said. “They don’t want to repeat this past year. OK, so what are we going to do differently?”