Breonna Taylor Deal Promises Reform LMPD Said They Did Years Ago Tuesday, Sep 22 2020 


Carrie Cochran, Karen Rodriguez, Maia Rosenfeld and Maren Machles of Newsy co-reported this story. 

As part of its historic, $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, Louisville has agreed to implement several major police reforms, including creating an early warning system to identify officer behavioral trends to prevent misconduct.


Breonna Taylor Deal Promises Reform LMPD Said They Did Years Ago Tuesday, Sep 22 2020 


Carrie Cochran, Karen Rodriguez, Maia Rosenfeld and Maren Machles of Newsy co-reported this story. 

As part of its historic, $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor, Louisville has agreed to implement several major police reforms, including creating an early warning system to identify officer behavioral trends to prevent misconduct.

This is not the first time the city has made such a promise. In the wake of police shootings and as a response to critical audits, the Louisville Metro Police Department has frequently asserted that it already has such a system, or is on the cusp of implementing one.

The current LMPD policy manual says it is actively using such a system. But it’s not, a joint investigation by Newsy and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has found.

Despite several promises since at least 2015, the department has never actually activated it, according to LMPD spokesperson Lamont Washington.

Early warning systems can be one of the most powerful tools of police reform, experts say, if implemented properly. The idea is simple, proponents of these systems say: Most police misconduct comes from a few officers. By tracking officer activity, departments can identify trouble spots early and either fix them — with extra training, counseling or discipline — or remove the officer before something much worse happens.

Louisville Metro Council President David James was outraged to hear Mayor Greg Fischer announce the roll out of the early warning system in the settlement press conference.

“That is something that the police department had promoted years ago, and said that they had implemented,” James said. “So I find out today that they had not actually implemented that.”

LMPD declined an interview request, but said in an email that “budget cuts and constriction” had prevented them from fully implementing the system.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office said efforts to implement an early warning system were suspended “as the department considered a broader officer wellness program” that incorporates early warning aspects.

James said this revelation raises a lot of questions for him about what other promises haven’t been upheld.

“I, for some reason, felt like if you … said that that’s what you’re doing, then it would seem like that’s what you would do,” James said.

Now, with the legal settlement, the department can no longer delay moving forward. But an early warning system only works in a department that wants it to work, said Samuel Walker, a professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska Omaha who wrote a series of reports on early warning systems for the Department of Justice in the early 2000s.

When an agency waits until a settlement requires them to activate its early warning system, “it’s a gigantic red flag,” said Walker.

How early warning systems work

Early warning systems review officer discipline, citizen complaints, administrative incident reports, attendance, commendations, driving records and other factors to proactively identify areas of concern within a department.

Once an officer has a certain number of infractions — as determined by each individual department — the software sends an alert, flagging the trend. Supervisors can then respond however they see fit: more training, counseling, or, if necessary, disciplinary action.

LMPD has some of this framework in place. Since at least 2009, the city has contracted with CI Technologies, a company that distributes policing software, including a program called IAPro that LMPD says in reports it uses for internal affairs management.

IAPro centralizes all the documentation of officer activity, like administrative incident reports and personnel files. But in addition to gathering these records, IAPro also has the ability to use that information to send early warning alerts about officer behavior. LMPD has chosen not to activate that aspect of the software before now.

Brett Hankison

Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family, believes Officer Brett Hankison might have been flagged by an early warning system for excessive use of force incidents — if LMPD was using one.

Hankison is one of the three officers who shot and killed Taylor at her apartment in March while serving a “no-knock” search warrant. He was fired in June.

Every police department sets its thresholds for alerts differently, and there’s no way to know what would have happened had LMPD been formally alerted to these trends.

But if Hankison was a police officer in Kentucky’s second-largest city, he would have been flagged repeatedly.

Lexington has had an early warning system for its police department since 2004. By the metrics the Lexington police use, Hankison’s use of force record alone would have triggered an alert at least four times in nine years.

But Taylor’s case is not the first time LMPD has been made aware of an officer with multiple infractions that an early warning system might have caught.

Conrad: LMPD ‘sort of’ has a system

In Beau Gadegaard’s first 18 months as an LMPD officer, he racked up at least ten use-of-force reports. His supervisor deemed them all justified, but he was repeatedly chastised for failing to turn on his body camera.

Brett Gadegaard

He also was found to be at fault in an on-duty car accident, and was investigated and later suspended for one day for performing a warrantless search on a group of Black teens playing basketball in west Louisville.

For just these instances, if Gadegaard had been a police officer down the road in Lexington, he would have triggered four alerts in six months.

Then, on August 8, 2016, Gadegaard and two other officers responded to a domestic dispute call. When they arrived on the scene, they encountered Darnell Wicker holding a saw.

The officers shouted for Wicker to drop the saw. When he didn’t, Gadegaard and Officer Taylor Banks opened fire, shooting him 14 times. He died at the scene.

Cincinnati-based civil rights attorney Alphonse Gerhardstein sued LMPD on behalf of Wicker’s family. He recalls being surprised that LMPD’s early warning system hadn’t flagged Gadegaard.

“[He was] someone who had … a lot of curious complaints around his conduct and someone who had repeatedly failed to turn on his body cam when he was involved in a use of force,” Gerhardstein said. “These are the types of things that an employee tracking system picks up.”

A screenshot from LMPD’s response to its 2015 traffic stop audit.

It’s not surprising that Gerhardstein believed LMPD had an early warning system.

In response to audits of traffic stops in 2014, 2015-2016 and 2017, LMPD said that it utilized an early warning system software, and was in the process of developing a new system.

In 2015, in a use-of-force policy review, LMPD said it was in the process of implementing an early warning system “for the purpose of identifying work‐related problematic behavioral patterns among officers.”

The agency’s own policy manual says it is currently using such a system.

But when Gerhardstein sat down to depose Conrad in 2017, the truth came out.

“You have an early warning system at the LMPD, right?” Gerhardstein asked.

Conrad responded: “Sort of.”

Gerhardstein asked what “sort of” meant.

“We don’t have one that is operational,” Conrad replied. “It’s referred to in our policy…it has never been operational.”

Conrad’s 2017 deposition

Gerhardstein recalled the way Conrad’s admission “bonked me over the head.”

“It just clicked that one of the reasons my client was killed was because the man who shot him had never been properly flagged by this very simple tool,” Gerhardstein said in a recent interview. “This department just hadn’t gotten around to implementing it.”

Conrad said in the deposition that Louisville had never implemented its early warning system because leadership couldn’t agree on the thresholds to trigger an alert. He told Gerhardstein that he had since put together a working group to resolve the issue.

“I am told that we are close to having it up and running,” Conrad said.

That was three years — and at least 15 fatal police shootings — ago.

Will it actually be implemented this time?

In the end, Darnell Wicker’s death resulted in a three-day suspension for Gadegaard for failing to turn on his body camera. In February of this year, that suspension was reduced to a written reprimand. He is still employed by LMPD.

Gerhardstein ended up settling the Wicker family’s lawsuit for $1.25 million in late 2019. He said he tried to negotiate for reforms as part of the deal, but nothing came of it.

Just three months later, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed. Her name became a rallying cry, and her family’s civil lawsuit against the city garnered national headlines.

Sam Aguiar, one of the lawyers for Taylor’s family, was also Gerhardstein’s co-counsel on the Wicker case. When he realized that they’d have a chance to push for reforms, Aguiar said one of the first things that came to mind was the early warning system.

“It could have identified Hankison, or Beau Gadegaard, and they’re just sitting on this tool,” Aguiar said.

Now, the city will be forced to implement it. The system will be monitored by the yet-to-be-created Office of Inspector General, and a consulting firm will offer recommendations on how to improve it.

It’s not clear how the city will overcome the roadblocks that have hampered progress in the past, like agreeing on thresholds for alerts and pushback from the police union.

LMPD spokesperson Lamont Washington said the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter was worried the system created “a paper trail of perceived ‘potential’ issues about an officer.” FOP President Ryan Nichols did not respond to request for comment.

Metro Council President James would love to see this project finally come to fruition. But he’s incredibly frustrated that it took the death of Breonna Taylor and others to force the agency to do something he thought they did years ago.

“I just wonder what types of things could have been avoided had that actually been implemented over the years,” James said.


Contact Eleanor Klibanoff at

This story was produced in collaboration with Newsy.

The post Breonna Taylor Deal Promises Reform LMPD Said They Did Years Ago appeared first on Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

Editorial: The Murder Mayor Must Go Monday, Jun 15 2020 

In the wake of unspeakable brutality from our police department and the solidarity of our people to demand change -and under the constant threat of unwarranted continued police abuse- the response from our elected mayor, as well as the response of the LMPD is unfathomable. It is almost difficult to describe despite the amount of international coverage in the ongoing belligerent attitude of our local government.

Not that we, here at 37FLOOD, haven't tried. Soon after being elected we began to post editorials about Greg Fischer's criminal  dealings in the Mayor's Office; from raiding the city's coffers in blatant sweetheart landholding deals, such as selling city property well below market value for his friends to immediately flip for handsome profits to his forgivable loans to developers to gentrify low income neighborhoods pushing Louisville's poor into even worse financial situations and using the 'Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund' as a way for Fischer to hand over city funds to his developer buddies so they can have free money to buy up properties in low income neighborhoods and make a fortune with our tax dollars by gentrifying the areas causing one of the biggest cost-of-living increases in the US in the last decade.

It was horrifying the way our mayor so unabashedly targeted and destroyed our lower income citizens for profit causing a major jump in families living in poverty (according to the U.S. Census). But his actions could almost be understood as the actions of a greedy & powerful privileged dick putting profits over human lives, horrifying yes, but sadly we've gotten apathetic to the actions of privileged dicks. But somewhere in his second term his actions took a different tone, seemingly not motivated by stealing vast sums of money from the people, but something even more dark.  After brokering dirty deals, like giving $30 million of the city's money for the soccer arena in a move that further punished the poor and shot the cost of living through the roof he refused to raise minimum wage over $9/hr causing a 34% increase in residents who pay more than 50% of their earnings to housing costs. And after sweeping the poorest into the street to die in order to steal money hand over fist Fischer seemed to enjoy making the process as painful and humiliating as possible for our city's most vulnerable. If that wasn't bad enough he waited until December 8th, 2017, in freezing temperatures, to bulldoze a homeless camp on the arena property in a heartless move that could only be described as sadistic.

By then the mayor was into his third term and without worrying about a reelection he seemed to really ramp up his criminal actions, beyond dirty business deals into behaviour that is more related to ruthless barbarism. While similarly sized cities like Minneapolis have voted to replace the police force with a community-led model, the mayor releases his budget proposal for next year, a whopping $190 million for the police, and just $34 million for public health.  He hasn't even gotten Louisville's Covid-19 Contact Tracing Program started yet and the first reported case in Louisville was early March.

  It's hard to understand his sadistic actions when there doesn't seem to be any monetary or political gain, only for the sake of crushing others because he can. In this defining moment in our city Fischer has the chance to become a great leader, to make solid changes and heal a community in pain, but instead is choosing to show his might as the world shakes its head in confusion and horror. He won't even release the name of (much less fire) the officer who purposely fired rubber bullets at a news crew filming live on air during the protests. The officer, known only as L6, is still on the job after shooting, reloading, and shooting again on the WAVE 3 news crew who were behind police lines and not breaking any law. What is the point of keeping brutal cops on the force besides showing your power during a time when condemnation is coming in from literally the entire world? Other cities are cracking down on police that abuse peaceful protestors but the mayor is going to great lengths to protect them at the expense of the community.

As the world mourns the death of Breonna Taylor and the nation's cities are burning, the Mayor has done more to thumb his nose at a grieving city and make matters worse. The LMPD did all it could to lie, slow up investigations, and railroad Taylor's boyfriend Kenneth Walker, and the mayor did nothing. The Police said they knocked during a No-Knock warrant, witnesses said they did not, using  a battering ram to kick in the door. The police originally said Taylor shot at them although Walker admitted to firing the single shot at police, and only after Taylor repeatedly called out asking the intruders to announce themselves.

The Mayor could say he helped the attempted murder charges against Walker get dropped, but that was 2 months later. He could say they released Walker's 911 call, but that was only after Taylor's family released it first, and the city still won't release 911 calls from witnesses. The Mayor could say he fired the Police Chief, but that was after Conrad announced he was retiring at the end of the month anyway. The 'You Can't Quit Because You're Fired' defense is of little consolation. He could say He signed Breonna's Law banning No-Knock Warrants, but after a unanimous vote by the city council he had little choice. The choices he does have, he has chosen to do next to nothing. The officers involved in Taylor's killing are still on the force. The killers of George Floyd were fired and arrested. The mayor could have at least put them on leave but he didn't, and one of the officers, Brett Hankison, has 15 years worth of complaints against him including rape and serious bodily injury against another officer and is not only still on the job but a member of the Louisville Police Merit Board. When Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear demanded the body cam footage from the officers at David McAtee's killing the mayor said none of the police turned their cams on. This insolence doesn't end and Louisville is paying the price with human lives.  What does it take for a brutal officer to be removed from the force besides retiring? Either the LMPD has some major dirt on the mayor keeping him from doing the slightest thing to curtail police corruption or he is just drunk on his own power keeping him from protecting us. When the LMPD famously walked out on the mayor showing their absolute disregard for the law and chain of command again the mayor did nothing and we are getting murdered over it.

The mayor can't do one thing to pretend like he gives a damn but just continues to show his disdain for justice and civility. After 3 long months of non-action the city finally released its report on Taylor's  death, a report the whole world would see, and it was a big 'Fuck You' to Taylor's family, the Racial Justice Movement, and to the city of Louisville. He knew the world would be waiting for this report, so to release a nearly blank document that basically only includes only the time, date, case number and the victim's name, and the misinformation stating Taylor received no injuries, and that there was no forced entry is beyond blatant incompetence, it is simply criminal. Unions are important, but in the case of the FOP, this is a union that aides in facilitating murder and shielding lawbreakers from justice. We need to follow Minneapolis and Canton in a complete restructure of the police force before more innocent lives are lost to a corrupt local government.
If the mayor can deem the Police Chief unfit, we as a city need to call Greg Fischer unfit for office (if not brought up on human rights abuse charges) and demand his removal immediately before more lives are lost to his incompetence, his disregard to the health and safety of our city, and his flagrant abuse of power. Greg Fischer's continual actions (and inaction in the case of the LMPD) are literally killing innocent Louisvillians. If we love our city the time is now to demand a change.

In 2017, after a record breaking year of homicides (124 in 2016), the Metro Council gave a vote of no-confidence of Louisville police Chief Steve Conrad and recommended that the mayor replace him. Imagine the brutality that would have not happened if he had, or the lives that could have been saved. Instead the mayor not only ignored the council but lashed out against them, saying "too many (council) members are just critics and simplistically target one person for a complex problem." (which is what he himself did after the killing of McAtee) adding that "Chief Conrad and the dedicated men and women of the LMPD have my full support and appreciation, and clearly that of the vast majority of Louisville citizens." The mayor clearly has no idea what the vast majority of citizens want, or doesn't care, and he certainly has no control over the police that have shown they will do what they want, and if they don't like what the mayor is doing, they walk out on him. It is time to end this cycle of violence. Please contact your Metro Councilperson now and demand Greg Fischer be removed from office. It's very easy, just click the link and leave a message demanding immediate action be taken now before more lives are lost.

You can also email the US Conference of Mayors here voice your opposition to Greg Fischer as the Vice President and incoming President of their organization. 

Castleman Statue Rode Out of Cherokee Triangle Monday, Jun 8 2020 


City wins court appeal, Mayor orders immediate removal

LOUISVILLE, KY. (June 8, 2020) —The John Breckenridge Castleman monument is being moved this morning from Cherokee Triangle, after a Jefferson Circuit Court judge ruled Friday afternoon that the city has the right to do so.

Crews began work at about 6 a.m. The statue is being taken to a city storage facility for cleaning, in anticipation of a move to Cave Hill Cemetery, where Castleman is buried; the plinth below it will be moved later. Negotiations with Cave Hill about the move are ongoing.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to move the Castleman monument, as well as one of George Dennison Prentice, in August 2018, after reviewing a report issued two months earlier by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, which had created a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced plans to move the Castleman monument, as well as one of George Dennison Prentice, in August 2018, after reviewing a report issued two months earlier by the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, which had created a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.

The committee held seven public meetings in 2018, gathering hundreds of comments from residents throughout the city before submitting its report to the Mayor. The Mayor said at the time that, “We all agree with the report’s finding that our city must not maintain statues that serve as validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology – that’s why we relocated the Confederate statue near the University of Louisville” in 2016.

And, “While Castleman was honored for contributions to the community, it cannot be ignored that he also fought to continue the horrific and brutal slavery of men, women and children; heralded that part of his life in his autobiography; and had his coffin draped with both a U.S. and Confederate flag,” he said. “And while Prentice was founder and long-time editor of the Louisville Journal newspaper, he used that platform to advocate an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant message that led to the 1855 Bloody Monday riot where 22 people were killed.”

The Prentice statue was moved into storage in December 2018. The Castleman move required a Certificate of Appropriateness because it is located in the Cherokee Triangle Preservation District. The Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee denied the certificate in January 2019. The city appealed that decision to the Landmarks Commission, which approved the move in May 2019.  The Friends of Louisville Public Art appealed that decision to Jefferson Circuit Court, which denied that appeal, making way for today’s move.

In announcing his decision to move the Prentice and Castleman statues in 2018, the Mayor rejected the idea that moving them was an effort to erase history. “Moving these statues,” he said, “allows us to examine our history in a new context that more accurately reflects the reality of the day, a time when the moral deprivation of slavery is clear.”

Today, the Mayor said moving the Castleman statue from its public space sends an important message. “But the events of the past weeks have shown clearly that it’s not enough just to face our history – we’ve got to address its impact on our present. Too many people are suffering today because the promises of justice and equality enshrined in our Constitution are unfulfilled by a society that devalues African-American lives and denies African Americans justice, opportunity and equity. That’s got to change. People want and deserve action. We need a transformation.”

No decision has been made about how the Cherokee Triangle site will be used after the statue is moved. Sarah Lindgren, Metro’s Public Art Administrator, said any new proposal for artwork or monuments on public property would be reviewed through the city’s public art guidelines.

Information about the city’s review process for artworks in public places, including the Commission on Public Art guidelines and documentation of  the Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee, can be found at

Monday — Conrad Fired; Officers in McAtee Shooting on Leave Tuesday, Jun 2 2020 

from Louisville Metro:
Rob Schroeder as acting Police Chief; extends curfew order, National Guard assistance

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 1, 2020) – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that he has fired Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.

In addition, the Mayor announced that two Louisville Metro Police Officers who fired their weapons in the Monday morning shooting of David McAtee in an incident at 26th and Broadway have been placed on administrative leave because they either failed to have their body cameras turned on or wear them, which is a violation of police policy – “and an especially grievous error at a time of such heightened focus on police activities.”

Chief Conrad had previously announced plans to retire next month, but Mayor Fischer said it has become clear in recent days that the city could not wait for a change in leadership. Effective immediately, Col.Robert Schroeder will be Acting Chief, while a national search is done for a permanent chief.

“An immediate change in leadership is required,” said Mayor Fischer, adding that Schroeder will report to Amy Hess, a former high-ranking FBI official who is the city’s Chief of Public Safety.   He also said a national search for a permanent chief will begin soon.

In lieu of body camera video, LMPD released video from the department’s Real Time Crime Center and audio from MetroSafe related to this morning’s event. 

Chief Schroeder said the LMPD Public Integrity Unit is conducting an investigation into this morning’s event; and the Kentucky State Police will be conducting an independent oversight investigation alongside that investigation. The National Guard will also be conducting its own review of its members actions in last night’s incident. “I strongly welcome these external investigations,” the Mayor said, “and will support them in any way possible.”

Mayor Fischer announced that the curfew in place from 9 pm-6:30 am has been extended through Monday, June 8, and urged people to protest peacefully and lawfully.  ” The Mayor also thanked Governor Andy Beshear for extending the assistance of the National Guard and the Kentucky State Police.

The Mayor was joined during today’s briefing by state Rep. Charles Booker, who in part outlined the challenges that current state law presents in firing police officers, and then commented on the shooting of Mr. McAtee.

“Our community is devastated yet again. Not only are we fighting for justice for Breonna Taylor, but we have lost another treasured Louisvillian, Mr. David McAtee,” Booker said. “While we demand accountability and know that structural and policy changes must be made, I am committed to standing with the people of our city to build trust and a path forward. In the midst of our pain today, a powerful display of unity was shown as officers put down their weapons and the community locked arms. Let’s build on that, demand justice and heal together.”

Earlier today, during a virtual Day of Reflection to remember the victims of COVID-19 and reflect on recent events, the Mayor said he understands that the steps he’s taken – including suspension of no-knock warrants, a requirement that all officers have body cameras and working to establish a civilian review board with subpoena powers – will not resolve the frustration and concern that residents are feeling.

“Our community is grieving on multiple levels right now – and our African American brothers and sisters are struggling with a particular form of grief that has tragically been passed down from generation to generation for far too long,” the Mayor said. “We can no longer wait on processes to wrap up, when we’ve given people no reason to trust the process. We have to act.”

Mayor Fischer announces Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle for Memorial Day weekend Saturday, May 23 2020 

Encourages Louisvillians to stay active while social distancing

LOUISVILLE (May 22, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today announced a first-of-its-kind Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle in place of the traditional event that draws thousands of cyclists, paddlers, walkers and fitness fanatics to Waterfront Park twice a year.

“Although COVID-19 prevents us from gathering by the thousands for Hike, Bike and Paddle, we still want to celebrate with each other, and focus on great family exercise and fun,” said Mayor Fischer. “So instead of bringing thousands to Waterfront Park for one day, our Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle will take place over our entire city over the course of about four weeks.”

The Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle starts Memorial Day weekend and runs through June 20, 2020. Over those four weeks, participants are asked to complete a healthy lifestyle activity and upload pictures of themselves running, jogging, hiking, biking, paddling, or any exercise while still practicing good social distancing. That includes other activities that have traditionally been part of Hike, Bike and Paddle, like Tai Chi, Yoga and Zumba.

Participants can share pictures of themselves exercising from home, in different neighborhoods or from one of the city’s great parks, and some of those will be shared on social media.

All participants will be eligible to win a special edition Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle T-shirt that includes a safety stripe for better visibility.

Additionally, there will be a coupon giveaway for two bottles of PowerAde Ultra from Coca-Cola and redeemable at Valu Market. Quantities are limited for both T-shirts and coupons and will be given away via random drawings. All winners will be notified by email and shirts will be available for pick up at a designated location following the June 20 completion of the virtual event.

Participants can register at Registration is quick and easy; be sure to include your T-shirt size.

“Though we cannot gather and exercise as a community right now, we can still – and should – exercise on our own, and share our stories and pictures, and inspire and challenge each other just like we do every time at Hike, Bike and Paddle,” said the Mayor.

The Mayor’s Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle would not be possible without the generous support from sponsors Coca-Cola Consolidated and Norton Sports Health.

“We are honored to be a sponsor of the Mayor’s Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle,” said Audie Wilson, sr. director of retail sales for Coca-Cola Consolidated. “What a great way for families and the Louisville community to have fun and enjoy some outdoor time during these challenging times.”

“Norton Healthcare is pleased to once again sponsor the Mayor’s Hike, Bike and Paddle. As a nationally recognized healthiest employer, we are committed to providing a culture of health and wellness within our organization and throughout the community,” said Russell F. Cox, president and CEO, Norton Healthcare. “Though this year’s event looks much different, we encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle and get outside safely as the weather warms up to go for a walk, run or bike ride while taking in the beautiful scenery of our great city and state.”

Karl F. Schmitt Jr., president and CEO of the Louisville Sports Commission, joined the Mayor during his announcement today and said the Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle is a great complement to the Sports Commissions’ efforts to promote staying active while practicing good social distancing.

“Our team at the Sports Commission believes we can help improve health and wellness for everyone by promoting a culture of active lifestyles, and participating in the Mayor’s virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle is a perfect opportunity for people to incorporate a wide variety of movement activities into their lives,” said Schmitt Jr. “In fact, we recently launched the Louisville Active Facebook page that includes the Active Social Distancing Challenge group to create a sense of community where people can share what they are doing to stay active and to challenge others to do the same.”

Additional support for the event is provided by James Newman and his team at Valu Market, and media partners WLKY, 106.9 Play and Outfront Media.

To register for the Virtual Hike, Bike and Paddle, visit

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad announces retirement Thursday, May 21 2020 


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 21, 2020) – Today Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad notified Mayor Greg Fischer of his decision to retire at the end of June.

“In his decades as a public servant, Chief Conrad has shown a deep commitment to justice, innovation and fairness,” Mayor Fisher said. “As our Police Chief for the past eight years, he has worked tirelessly on improving transparency and community policing. Most importantly, he has been a kind, decent, fierce advocate and protector of the city he loves, and a respected colleague.  I appreciate that he is staying through the end of our fiscal year to help us ensure a smooth transition, as we continue to grapple with budget challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Link to Rusty Satellite Show interview with Conrad from April 2019.

Chief Conrad began his career in 1980 as a patrol officer for the former Louisville Division of Police. He rose through the ranks, eventually serving in the role of assistant chief overseeing the merger that created the Louisville Metro Police Department. After a stint as the chief in Glendale, AZ, Chief Conrad returned to Louisville as chief in 2012.

“It has been the highlight of my professional career to be Louisville’s police chief,” said Chief Conrad. “LMPD is full of amazing men and women who come to work each day to do their best for this community and it has been a privilege to lead them.”

As Chief, Conrad ensured the department led the way in providing data and information through its webpage, regularly participated in community events and non-profit boards, made several key policy changes, and actively led the Synergy Project effort to strengthen trust between residents and police.

“This job has been filled with many more ups than downs, and I only wish we had not had to say goodbye to three officers who lost their lives in the line of duty during my tenure,” said Chief Conrad. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and express my sincere appreciation to this community, the members of my command staff, Mayor Greg Fischer, and most importantly to my family, who sacrificed a lot for me to have this chance to serve.”

Mayor Fischer has asked Colonel Robert Schroeder to serve as Interim Chief of LMPD upon Chief Conrad’s departure, while a search for a permanent Chief gets underway.

“Col. Schroeder has a long career with the Department, and has led many critical projects within the Department, including the implementation of police body cameras and the creation of the LMPD’s Crime Information Center (CIC) and Real Time Crime Center (RTCC),” said Mayor Fischer. “I feel confident he will ably lead this team of devoted men and women in blue.”

Mayor Fischer also announced he will be realigning LMG’s Cabinet structure so that the LMPD reports to Amy Hess as Chief of Public Safety. Chief Hess brings an unparalleled record in taking on this added responsibility, having served as Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, and as the Special Agent in Charge of the Louisville FBI field office.

“For us to have true public safety, it is critical the community have trust in our Police Department,” said Mayor Fischer.  “My administration will work tirelessly to continue to build that trust. My thanks go to all those involved in that work – to the men and women of the LMPD, for the difficult and often dangerous work they do, and for their efforts to create strong police community relationships, and to the many community members who are committed to helping us create the Louisville we all want.”

Mayor Fischer thanks city’s frontline workers for their commitment, warns of deep cuts without federal help Thursday, May 14 2020 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 13, 2020) â€“ Mayor Greg Fischer today called on all Louisvillians to thank frontline city workers for their commitment to keeping the city safe and functioning amid the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis.

“These are the people who do the most necessary city government services – protecting public safety: Police, firefighters, EMS, public transportation, public health nurses, sanitation professionals,” the Mayor said. “Those jobs are important all the time, but they’ve never been more important – or more appreciated – than during this COVID-19 outbreak.”

But without more direct aid from the federal government, Mayor Fischer said the city could be forced to cut services and lay off scores of hardworking city employees. He asked Louisville residents to show their appreciation by contacting members of Congress and the White House to demand more help for America’s cities.

This week, the $3 trillion Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to boost funding to state and local governments and send more direct aid to Americans.

“Making drastic cuts would be a terrible idea under any circumstances but making them in the middle of a public health and an economic crisis is unimaginable,” the Mayor said. “That’s why I’ve joined a bipartisan group of mayors and governors across the nation that has been making the case for weeks – calling for Congress and the president to provide state and local governments across America with the funding and flexibility we need to maintain the critical services our residents and businesses need and deserve.”

Mayor Fischer said that 47 percent of the city’s operating budget comes from payroll taxes, which have been dramatically reduced by record levels of unemployment due to the economic shutdown caused by the virus. In less than three months, Louisville’s city budget picture went from anticipating a $19 million surplus in the current fiscal year to a roughly $27 million deficit.

“And the picture gets worse next year,” the Mayor added. “When you add in the anticipated costs of expanding COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, which are essential to safely reopening and rebuilding our economy, Metro Government will experience estimated losses of $250 million in the next 26 months.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on city budgets across the country.

“Without help, our city and many others will be forced to make horrific cuts to all of our departments and services – and for us, that would have to include public safety because it comprises about 60 percent of our budget,” Mayor Fischer said. “And remember: we’ve spent nine years streamlining Metro Government, building an operation that’s been praised by multiple third parties as a model for being an effective, efficient and accountable city government.”

The Mayor was joined at his media briefing today by leaders of the many unions that represent Louisville Metro Government employees.

“The HEROES Act includes direct funding for fire departments, flexibility for current grant money that has already been allocated for fire departments, and direct funding for state and local governments,” said Brian C. O’Neill, president of International Association of Fire Fighters Local 345. “In the midst of this crisis, Louisville Fire responses have only been increasing – more fires, more emergencies – and we need a budget that will protect the Fire Department so that we can continue to protect the community.”

Cliff Kerce, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees District Council 36, said cities across the country “are hemorrhaging” workers as cities cut their budgets during the downturn. “This is a five-alarm fire,” Kerce said. “We have to have Congress act quickly and efficiently.”

John Stovall, president of Teamsters Local 783, said members of his union are the people who pick up your garbage, maintain government facilities, maintain local roads, and take you to the hospital when you’re sick or injured. “It’s a lot of the stuff people take for granted,” Stovall said. “We can’t afford anymore cuts. It’s time for our federal government to step up and help.”

Daniel Johnson, president of Corrections FOP Lodge 77, said the outbreak has placed a major strain on his members. “We love our jobs and want to continue to provide an excellent job,” Johnson said. “Our resources are at risk. Local governments are in dire need of assistance.”

Ryan Nichols, president of Fraternal Order of Police Chapter 614, said federal aid is vital to avoiding further reductions at LMPD. “We are working at manpower levels where we cannot endure anymore cuts,” Nichols said.

Mayor Fischer called the introduction of the HEROES Act “a great first step.”

“We understand that this isn’t easy and there are different points of view on the best path forward,” the Mayor said. “But as a nation, we have to find a way to keep our local governments running and providing essential services so we can reduce the pain of both the health consequences and the economic consequences of this pandemic.”

To see a replay of today’s briefing, go to

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Wednesday, there have been 11 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 1,788 with 1,089 recoveries. There has been one additional death since Tuesday. The confirmed Louisville total is 124.

(Note: Today’s confirmed case count is lower than Tuesday’s due to an error in reporting.)

Gender/age details:

  • Female/83

Currently, 56 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 21 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 26 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 9 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 45 positive tests.
  • 25 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for May 13:

  • 438 inmates have been tested.
  • 2 positives.
  • 24 tests are pending.

Personal protective equipment donation

Mayor Fischer today thanked the Kentucky Science Center for donating some much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to help the city’s frontline healthcare warriors.

The Kentucky Science Center donated 5,000 vinyl and nitrile gloves, along with goggles and face masks, to Norton Healthcare.

“A lot of folks in our community have embraced our city value of compassion these last few weeks, especially toward our health care warriors, who are really leading the way by putting themselves in harm’s way every day for our benefit,” the Mayor said. “I want to thank the folks at the Kentucky Science Center for their compassion.”

If you or your organization have the capacity to donate or produce PPE like masks, gloves, and face shields, contact Louisville Metro Government at

Thursday tele town hall

Mayor Fischer will host a Facebook Live tele town hall on Thursday morning that focuses on public safety.

To participate, go to at 10 a.m.

Mayor Fischer stresses the need to protect Louisville’s senior citizens during COVID-19 outbreak Friday, May 8 2020 


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 7, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today gave an update on the massive effort to protect Louisville’s senior citizens – especially those living in long-term care facilities – from the COVID-19 virus.

Although the disease has stricken and killed people from all age groups, it is especially deadly for people over age 60. Keeping coronavirus out of long-term care facilities has been a top priority for state and local officials, the Mayor said.

“This virus is not impacting everyone the same way,” Mayor Fischer said during a tele town hall this morning. “The first epicenter of this pandemic (in the U.S.) was a nursing home in Seattle.”

The Mayor was joined at the tele town hall by healthcare professionals and advocates for the elderly, who discussed their efforts to help vulnerable senior citizens during this time of uncertainty and self-isolation.

“One thing that (Mayor Fischer) and the governor did early on was close the facilities to visitors,” said Dr. Christian Furman, a member of the Governor’s Long-Term Care Task Force and the Medical Director of the UofL Trager Institute. “That was huge… it really helped.”

Sarah Teeters of the Metro Office for Aging & Disabled Citizens said she has been working with the state, which has regulatory oversite of Kentucky’s long-term care facilities, to ensure that Louisville’s nursing homes are prepared to prevent and stop a COVID-19 outbreak.

“We are making sure everyone is feeling safe and secure and ready for all possibilities,” Teeters said.

But the efforts go beyond medical precautions and increased security measures, said Tihisha Rawlins, associate state director of the senior advocacy group AARP. Recognizing that many senior citizens are homebound and unable to see their family and friends these days, AARP created a toll-free phone line so they can just hear a friendly voice.

“We mostly are hearing about people feeling lonely, feeling isolated,” Rawlins said. “This is a friendly phone call – not a doctor, not a counselor… just someone to let them get some things off their chest, express how they’re feeling, what they’re afraid of.”

To request an AARP Friendly Voices call, go to or call 1-888-281-0145.

To watch a replay of today’s tele town hall, go to

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Thursday, there have been 40 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 1,553 with 906 recoveries. There have been five additional deaths since Wednesday, bringing the confirmed Louisville total to 113.

Gender/Age data for today’s deaths:

  • Individual/90+
  • Female/79
  • Male/78
  • Female/73
  • Female/69

Currently, 69 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 24 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 33 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 12 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 39 positive tests.
  • 15 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for May 7:

  • 332 inmates have been tested.
  • 169 tests are pending.

The post Mayor Fischer stresses the need to protect Louisville’s senior citizens during COVID-19 outbreak appeared first on Louisville KY.

Mayor Fischer says city’s social distancing strategy is flattening the COVID-19 curve and keeping us safe Tuesday, May 5 2020 

New study warns against easing stay-at-home policy too soon

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 4, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today said that a new study on the effectiveness of social distancing shows that the stringent measures being used in Louisville to slow the spread of COVID-19 are working.

As other states rush to reopen their economies, the Mayor said the modeling study performed by health experts from the University of Louisville and Louisville Metro Government offers a stern warning about the danger of moving too fast.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis we’ve been stressing the need for social distancing, which starts by staying home whenever possible. And now that we’ve been putting these ideas into practice for almost two months, we have new evidence that those measures are working, and saving lives,” Mayor Fischer said.

“Projecting the COVID-19 Weekly Deaths, Infections, and Hospitalizations for Jefferson County, Kentucky” is co-authored by Dr. Seyed Karimi, an assistant professor in the Department of Health Management and System Sciences at the UofL School of Public Health and Information Science; and Dr. Sarah Moyer, Louisville Metro Chief Health Strategist.

Karimi and Moyer concluded that that the city’s decision to shut down large gatherings, close non-essential businesses, and tell people to stay home as much as possible gave the local healthcare system and emergency management officials a chance to build up capacity and keep a wave of coronavirus patients from swamping hospitals and first responders.

But the study also modeled scenarios in which those measures are lifted before there is a sustained decline in new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and projected that as many as 900 more people in Louisville would die and about 2,000 more would be hospitalized by August. Although more than 100 people have died from the virus in Louisville, there has not yet been the exponential rise in deaths that many feared at the start of the outbreak.

“We know from our modeling that decreasing the current social distancing measures without increased efforts to test, isolate, and do contact tracing can move us to an unstable path with increased hospitalization and infection trends that could be catastrophic,” said Karimi, who also is a health economist with Metro Public Health & Wellness.

At the same time, the study offers a hopeful path forward for the community. By maintaining the strict social distancing strategy and enhancing COVID-19 testing/tracing/tracking capabilities, the community could be able to gradually reopen by early June, the model projects.

“This model validates the measures we have put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 in Louisville thus far,” Dr. Moyer said. “The study also serves as affirmation of our state and local efforts to slowly release restrictions.”

Mayor Fischer has previously announced plans to expand the city’s ability to test for the virus and utilize “contact tracing” to isolate people who may have been exposed, but warned that the effort will be massively expensive and would require federal assistance to properly build and staff. The Public Health & Wellness Communicable Illness Team currently has 55 members but would need to grow considerably in order to truly contain the spread of COVID-19.

“This study gives us important guidance on how we can more safely reopen in the coming weeks – which starts with maintaining our current social distancing measures, and adding even stronger containment measures, like expanded testing and contact tracing,” the Mayor said.

Read the study at

Mayor Fischer urges people to avoid traveling to and from Indiana

Mayor Fischer today also said that Louisvillians should continue to avoid unnecessary trips to Indiana despite that state’s decision to begin reopening some of its non-essential businesses.

“We need to proceed with caution as we look to lift restrictions and rebuild our economy.

This is not a situation where we want to be first to reopen. Being first equals taking the greatest risk,” the Mayor said. “Indiana is on a different timeline, but the virus is still out there. It’s not worth risking you or a loved one’s life to go across the river just because a restaurant or a salon might be open sooner.”

Last week, Mayor Fischer extended Louisville’s COVID-19 state of emergency – first issued on March 13 – until June 1. Although the community has so far prevented the virus from overwhelming local hospitals, Louisville is still very much in the throes a pandemic.

The Mayor said he has spoken with leaders in Southern Indiana about the need for a regional plan to reopen the local economy, and urged Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to allow counties along the Kentucky border to work in closer coordination with Louisville. In the meantime, he asked residents on both sides of the river to avoid crossing the bridges unless it’s for work, medical treatment, or to care for a loved one.

“We all have the same goal of safely getting back to work and school and a more normal version of daily life,” Mayor Fischer said. “Let’s keep working together so we can all achieve it together.”

Daily COVID-19 data

As of Monday, there have been nine new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, bringing the total to 1,421 with 767 recoveries. There have been four additional deaths since Sunday, bringing the confirmed Louisville total to 102.

Gender/Age data for today’s deaths:

  • Female/89
  • Female/86
  • Male/86
  • Male/69

Currently, 56 members of LMPD, Louisville Fire, Metro EMS, Metro Corrections and the Sheriff’s Office are off-duty due to COVID-19:

  • 21 are off with positive tests and in self-isolation.
  • 28 are off and quarantined due to exposure to someone with a positive test.
  • 7 are “screened off” with symptoms and tested, or due to be tested, but have not received test results.

Positive test numbers for first responders/public safety since the incident began:

  • 32 positive tests.
  • 11 have fully recovered and returned to duty.

Metro Corrections inmate data for May 4:

  • 131 inmates have been tested.
  • 0 positive tests.

Supplies Over Seas donations hit $1 million mark

Mayor Fischer today thanked Supplies Over Seas for reaching $1 million in donations of personal protective equipment to local healthcare workers and others fighting the virus.

Supplies Over Seas (SOS) is a Louisville nonprofit organization that meets critical healthcare needs in medically impoverished communities around the world by collecting and distributing surplus medical supplies and equipment.

“Since the COVID-19 outbreak, they’ve retooled and are working to provide PPE here in our community,” the Mayor said. “And they have donated more than $1 million worth of medical supplies to our frontline warriors.”

SOS has been providing PPE and equipment to local hospitals, home health agencies, emergency responders, nonprofits, Metro services, clinics in west Louisville and most recently has been focused on nursing homes.

“I am deeply proud of our small team who supported the decision to focus 100 percent on local needs. They knew diverting all of these supplies to donations from revenue programs would put the organization and their jobs at risk, but they knew it was the right thing to do,” said Supplies Overseas President and CEO Denise Sears. “Every member of our team, without hesitation, put others before themselves. I am blessed to work with such compassionate individuals.”

Although local hospitals and first responders have managed to maintain an adequate supply of PPE such as masks, gloves, and shields, more is always needed. If you or your organization has the capacity to donate or produce PPE, please contact Louisville Metro Government at

Tuesday tele town hall to focus on public safety

Mayor Fischer will be joined by LMPD Chief Steve Conrad and Metro Chief of Public Services Amy Hess on Tuesday morning for a tele town hall on the topic of public safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

To participate, go to at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Louisville Digital Pride

Mayor Fischer and Chief Equity Offcer Kendall Boyd will join Louisville Pride Foundation’s executive director Mike Slaton on Tuesday for a community conversation on how the city’s focus on resilience, equity, and compassion has helped during this pandemic

To watch/listen, go to at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

The post Mayor Fischer says city’s social distancing strategy is flattening the COVID-19 curve and keeping us safe appeared first on Louisville KY.

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