LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A community conversation with south Louisville residents and city leaders became heated as citizens continue calling for transparency in how Louisville Metro Police and the city government operate.
The meeting was hosted inside of the Spirit Filled New Life Church Ministries on Hazelwood Avenue, where city residents and activists could discuss concerns with officials.
Louisville mayor Greg Fischer, former LMPD interim chief Yvette Gentry and current LMPD chief Erika Shields attended as part of an open dialogue hosted by the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.
Questions being raised by the community included why there isn’t more transparency in how LMPD handles affairs in terms of gun violence and why the public isn’t being included in negotiating the city’s police union contract.
“We’re gonna keep at it, we’re going to earn your trust, obviously we have a long way to go,” Fischer said to the crowd.
Frustration continued as the crowd said their word was going unheard as calls to Mayor Fischer’s office were left without any form of response.
Fischer released a statement following Saturday’s conversation.
“People want to be heard. I understand that. My team and I have worked hard to connect with protesters and others as we work toward greater equity and reimagining public safety in our community, and we have implemented a number of reforms based on those conversations, including the no-knock warrant ban, a Civilian Review Board and changes in our search warrant process among many others. And we will keep listening as we continue reforms. Chief Shields, Vincent James and our Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, and I welcome all productive conversations as we continue to move our city forward.”
LMPD Chief Shields also responded about Saturday’s conversation, hoping continued conversations can begin “unifying the city.”
“Yesterday, I attended a community meeting at Spirit Filled New Life Church Ministries held by The Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. One of the most critical parts of my role is to listen to the concerns of the community. I hear the frustration residents are expressing and I appreciate the open and honest dialogue. These conversations are an essential part of the process of unifying our city. I am committed to leading LMPD through necessary reforms and improvements to get to a place where we, as a community, are working together. I welcome feedback and I always will.”
Organizers said they plan to continue bringing these meetings together in the future, saying the community’s questions will continue bringing light to the situation to get things done.