LMPD chief speaks about violence in Louisville, options throughout discussion board dialogue: “It is unacceptable”

With 51 criminal murders and 180 non-fatal shootings in Louisville this year, newly appointed LMPD chief Erika Shields says her focus is on stopping the crime and keeping the city safe.



a person posing in front of the camera: Chief Erika Shields


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Chef Erika Schilde

“I wish we could expose all of the energy we devote to other issues to violence because it’s unacceptable,” she said.

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During a one-hour discussion with the Louisville Forum, Shields, who was sworn into her position in January this year, determined how much crime is being committed in the neighborhoods west of 9th Street. She says the cycle won’t stop until economic infertility is addressed.

“Where are the community centers, where are businesses, where is there a purpose?” Shields said.

According to Shields, in 2020 LMPD was more reactive than proactive when it came to crime, which made the problem worse. According to Shields, LMPD officials have been told to step down in many situations for fear of more criticism.

“If the police are not proactive, you will find the room where we now clean up the murders,” she said.

In order to reduce murders and gun violence, Shields is putting more emphasis on an intervention against group violence led by the new deputy head of the department, Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel. The aim is to replace enforcement with deterrence and to foster closer relationships between law enforcement agencies and the people they serve.

“It is imperative that GVI work because it interrupts violence, and that goes to the point where you move forward and prevent violence,” she said.

Recent data shows that since Shields became boss, there has been an increase in both deadly and non-fatal shootings and fewer homicides solved. Shields attributes this to the department’s lack of staff, as well as a lack of cooperation from victims who fear they will retaliate.

“These people feel like they are working together in a shootout that didn’t kill them and they are sure to be killed. That puts us in a difficult room because, as you know, local law enforcement doesn’t have witness protection programs.”

The path for policing in Louisville for Shields includes several internal changes in the Louisville Metro Police Department. First, she changed leadership of the Criminal Prohibition Division, the agency at the center of Breonna Taylor’s death. She also addresses the racial gap and lack of diversity in the department, which she believes is imperative. In addition, officers will conduct “smart policing,” which includes learning the history of policing, educating the public about how the public perceives law enforcement, and understanding that not all suspicious behavior is criminal.

“It will take all of the different parts of the operation to drive change here,” said Shields. “I am committed to ensuring that LMPD is performed at the highest possible level.”

Chief Shields discussed a number of topics during the conversation, including her controversial resignation from the Atlanta Police Department, the River City FOP’s recent post on members of the Louisville Civilian Review Board, the Metro government’s new open record application process, and the Criminal charges brought against him by the Minnesota officer who killed Daunte Wright.

The full conversation can be found on the Louisville Forum Facebook page here.

READ THE FULL STORY: LMPD Chief Talks Violence in Louisville, Solutions During Forum Discussion: “It’s Unacceptable”

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