Louisville mayor proposing $3 million investment in additional downtown security

Published: Jun. 16, 2021 at 5:18 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 11:51 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Metro Council Budget Committee is debating a proposal to provide additional security in downtown Louisville.

On Monday, the committee voted to table the proposal, which calls to use $3 million from Louisville’s portion of the American Rescue Plan to contract off-duty, sworn law enforcement officers to provide additional security on the streets of the Central Business District, Waterfront Park, NuLu, the Medical District and Broadway between 12th and Jackson streets.

According to the proposal, the emphasis would be on providing a reassuring, uniformed presence to workers, visitors and residents focusing on positive interactions with all community members.

“We want to take away any excuse that someone says that they don’t want to come downtown for,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “And so, downtown is a safe place, but we have a lot of people come down, especially on weekend nights, Thursdays, etc. I mean, NuLu’s popping, 4th Street’s popping, Whiskey Row’s popping, so it’s good to have a presence if it makes people feel better.”

According to the proposal, the Louisville Downtown Partnership would contract the officers, who would preferably be retired or former LMPD officers. However, due to LMPD’s staffing levels, the program also would need to use officers outside the department, possibly including the Jefferson County Sheriff, independent cities in Jefferson County, and those from surrounding counties.

In addition to traditional patrol officers, the proposal calls for the Louisville Downtown Partnership to purchase two All-Terrain Light Vehicles to allow for mounted patrols within the area of the program. Estimated cost would be $20,000 per vehicle.

Fischer told WAVE 3 News the extra visibility would help eliminate the perception that downtown is unsafe.

“The media has created a perception that downtown is not safe,” Fischer said. “We want to make sure people are assured that there’s a presence on the streets. We’ve got a lot of tourists that come to town as well. So if it gives people more comfort, gets them to come downtown, helps our economy, helps our businesses, it’s all part of the same package.”

Louisville Metro Council’s Budget Committee is set to pick up the discussion on Thursday.

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