Closer look at the search for new chief of LMPD

Mayor Craig Greenberg has said he hopes to name a new chief by the end of the month. As time ticks down, the mystery grows.
Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 10:58 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Mayor Craig Greenberg has said he hopes to name a new chief by the end of the month. As time ticks down, the mystery grows.

The mayor has done some due diligence looking for a new chief of police.

As he searches for a new chief, the mayor has hired a firm, surveyed the public, and last week announced an advisory committee.

This week we got a small insight from one person on the committee’s view for the next chief.

The Mayor’s advisory committee is made up of community leaders, law enforcement, city officials, and advocates.

Louisville’s NAACP branch says they’ve all had to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements.

However this week, one committee member described what she’s looking for in a new chief of police for LMPD.

“I think leadership is the key,” Councilwoman Paula McCraney said.

Councilwoman Paula McCraney is on the committee.

She recently sat down with interim chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel, who’s the only person we know who is up for the job.

“I am very pleased to know that you know policing,” McCraney said.

They talked about things like strong leadership, community policing, and community trust.

Villaroel also outlined the state of LMPD and what the chief will have to deal with, such as a shortage of officers.

“Right now we’re still at this level of 295 that we’re actually vacant right now,” Villaroel said. “And our retention is sometimes we’re at 5 to 7 that we lose in a month, but it’s slowing down.”

Stopping violent crime is one of Villaroel’s top priorities, along with community trust, recruitment and retention, and technology.

As of Monday, there were 239 shootings where the victim survived and 88 homicides.

Those numbers have gone up since, with more shootings, such as the ones that hurt two children under 10.

One of those children was Onyx. She was shot days after her sixth birthday.

The bullet severed her spine, and doctors told her family she will not walk again.

“It’s a sad testimony that back in the day we used to fist fight,” McCraney said. “But now it seems like picking up a gun is the first answer.”

The looming consent decree from the DOJ report is another thing the next chief will have to deal with.

“No agency wants to go underneath a consent decree,” Villaroel said. “But I will submit to you, any agency that’s not doing a self-auditing of themselves within a five-tier span, more than likely, you’ll probably be under a consent decree as well. It’s checks and balances. What are you doing? Are you operating just to operate? Or are you operating to make sure that you are successful, and you are efficient, and you are effective in what you’re doing?”

We don’t know any of the other finalists for the police chief job. It’s not the first time it’s happened as former chief Erika Shields’ hiring was also kept private.

WAVE News asked the mayor’s office the purpose of keeping everything secret but didn’t get an answer.