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New arrests and a possible resurgence of a controversial LMPD policy

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 9:40 PM EDT
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Chief Erika Shields of the Louisville Metro Police Department, used arrests to make a case for...
Chief Erika Shields of the Louisville Metro Police Department, used arrests to make a case for more pro-active or self-initiated policing.(Source: David Mattingly, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Louisville Metro Police Department announced a series of arrests with possibly more to come after gunfire erupted Monday.

It started with a drive-by shooting and car chase that left behind wrecked vehicles and multiple crime scenes. It ended with eight arrests, 11 guns seized and two stolen cars recovered. Some suspects were caught in the act when they tried to stash their weapons behind the counter of a convenience store. LMPD credited an officer, who was working on another case at the time, as being in the right place at the right time.

“We’re stretched thinner than we’ve ever been,” LMPD Major Aaron Crowell said. “So in this case, the fact that we had officers out on the street, doing their job in the right place at the right time, definitely led to this series of events.”

In another year of out-of-control gun violence, victories for LMPD are increasingly elusive. Since January 1, less than a third of fatal shooting cases are closed. When it comes to non-fatal shootings, even fewer, only about 14% of cases are closed. What happened on Monday, May 10 stands out as an exception. Shields used the arrests to make a case for more pro-active or self-initiated policing.

“The data shows clearly, that when this department started curbing self-initiation, July-August 2019, the crime has spiked,” Shields said. “I mean the data is right there. Officers have to be engaged.”

Self-initiated policing got the department into trouble before. Roughly 40 percent of self-initiated police actions were traffic stops. One involved teenager Tae-Ahn Lea, stopped and handcuffed in 2019 for making a wide turn. Changes to the policy led to fewer self-initiated acts.

Shields was not specific on what her vision of self-initiated policing will look like, only that policing needs to be the same in every neighborhood.

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WAVE 3 News Now. Watch Anytime. Anywhere.(WAVE 3 News)

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