LOUISVILLE, KY -- On Monday, December 6th, members of the Louisville community were given a chance to express their opinions at a Louisville Metro's Labor and Economic Development Committee. The following Tuesday, LMPD Chief Erika Shields and River City FOP President Ryan Nichols addressed questions to that same committee.
THE COMMUNITY SPEAKS
The topic of this forum was a committee vote on the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement between River City FOP and the Louisville Metro. Only 20 slots at 3 minutes apiece were offered up for citizens to speak. Many participated via digital platforms, some even from their vehicles, as this open forum was held at 4 PM during a workday. Individuals who wanted to sign up for this opportunity to speak were limited to only a 40-minute window to do so online, just days before the open forum. Some notable speakers included Shameka Parrish-Wright candidate for Mayor, Keturah Harris of ACLU of Kentucky, Chanelle Helm of BLM Louisville, and Ariana Levinson of the 490 Project.
Video compilation from Riotheart and MetroTV footage.
All 20 speaking slots were filled, despite the oddly limited signup window and choice of Date/Time schedule. Many scrutinized the Council's restrictions on the process, one even claiming it to be, "highly undemocratic." All but one of the speakers asked that the Metro Council vote no on the amended CBA. Further comments included:
"Limiting public comment to just 20 people and holding this meeting at four o'clock in the afternoon is highly undemocratic,” said Lindsay Wallace.
"This contract is a slap in the face. It's a disappointment, a disgrace," said Caralyn Tobe of Louisville.
"You are allowing, among many other things, our police department to dispose of informal citizen complaints after two years and supervisory files after one year - preventing any sort of early detection program from working," Taylor U'Sellis said.
"We cannot give increases in pay without accountability. That will not build relationships within the community. And that will not solve the issues," said Keturah Herron, who works with the ACLU of Kentucky.
"Increases in pay do not always result in high-quality personnel. Training police is useless if accountability is not prioritized," said Ariana Levinson, reading from a statement authored by the Kentucky Alliance in the latter half of their allotted time.
On Tuesday, December 7th LMPD Chief Erika Shields addressed questions and concerns from the Louisville Metro Council. Questions included topics like Misconduct, Informal Misconduct Record Retention Schedule, Accountability, Community Trust, and Equitable Recruiting. Here is some of what she had to say on the topics:
Video from Riotheart Facebook LIVEstream.
To close out, Metro Councilwoman and Committee Chair Keisha Dorsey expressed a sincere need for trust and accountability moving forward for proper community healing.
Video compilation from Riotheart.
The Labor and Economic Development Committee then voted five to two in favor of passing the proposed CBA and it is now up for a full board vote on Thursday, December 16th at 6 PM.
This proposed agreement included 9% raises in 2022 and 6% raises in 2023. In September, officers and Sargeants voted down a previous rendition that only offered a 3% increase in 2023. This was reported as the only change to the new proposed contract according to the River City FOP press secretary Dave Mutchler.
New officers now make about $45,000. Under the new contract, by July 2023, officers' salaries would range from $52,000 to nearly $81,000 for an officer at the end of his or her career.
Some of the major concerns are while this proposed CBA increases wages it doesn't implement any additional accountability measures. Even further there are concerns about the "Retention Schedule" for Officer Misconduct Records, although this current proposal raises this requirement from 90 days to 2 years.