Louisville’s new police chief, Steve Conrad, sworn in [Opinion: The Arena]

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Louisville welcomes its new Police Chief

Saying he is delighted to return home and help lead Louisville to being the safest city if America, Steve Conrad was sworn in by Mayor Greg Fischer yesterday as the new Chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department.  A Louisville native, Conrad most recently was Chief of Police in Glendale, Arizona, where he has earned accolades as a strong, steady and compassionate leader.

conrad swearing in 1.jpg“Steve has deep knowledge of Louisville — its neighborhoods, its people, its history — but he also has an outsider’s perspective, having left his hometown to serve as chief in Glendale,” Fischer said. “He has a passion for law enforcement, for Louisville and for LMPD and he is a great choice to make Louisville an even safer city.”

Conrad said he is honored and humbled to be the second chief of LMPD.  “I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity to lead the Louisville Metro Police Department,” he said. “It is an incredible organization filled with men and women who are willing to do what it takes to make our community safer. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to work with them again.”

Conrad ID card.jpgConrad has 32 years of law enforcement experience and began his career in 1980 with the Louisville Division of Police as a patrol officer in the Portland, Russell, Shawnee and California neighborhoods. He rose through the ranks from detective to sergeant to lieutenant to captain and eventually to assistant chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department from 2003 to 2005. He helped develop the first budget for the newly merged department, and he oversaw the day-to-day administration.

He was named chief in Glendale, a department with 600 employees and a $70 million annual budget, in 2005.  In Glendale, Conrad reorganized the police department to respond to community needs, including adding a Gang-Fugitive Squad, a Downtown Safety Team and three Neighborhood Response Squads. With the opening in 2006 of the University of Phoenix Stadium, he led a law-enforcement coalition to staff major stadium events, including the Fiesta Bowl, the BCS National Championships and the 2008 Super Bowl.

LMPD_3.jpgHe also established citizen advisory committees and implemented the Citizens Police Academy as part of his commitment to community policing. In response to increasing crime, Conrad created Strategies for a Safer City which, among other things, identified and arrested repeat offenders and increased traffic safety.

As part of the selection process for a new police chief Fischer spent two days in Glendale, meeting with city officials, police officers and citizens. Fischer said everyone he met had high praise for Conrad.  “I was looking for someone with wide knowledge of our city and LMPD who could build strong ties within the police force and throughout the community. Steve’s experience and credentials are deep,” Fischer said. “His performance through the various stages of our interview process was outstanding and my in-person interviews in Arizona convinced me that he is the best person for this opportunity.”

Louisville Metro Police Badge_1.jpgFrom community leaders and activists to the head of the Glendale Police union, a consistent portrait of Conrad emerged, Fischer said.  “He is an accessible, strong and humble leader who puts the safety needs of the community above all else. His authentic, no drama nature and good communications skills won the trust and respect of a diverse group of citizens while he and his team improved safety,” Fischer said. “I was struck several times by his comment that the success of the police department is about much more than the chief. He is a team builder and strong communicator who highly involved his troops and the community in building a safer city.”

Conrad earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Louisville and attended the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va. in 1994. His first day as Louisville chief is March 19, and his salary is $165,000.  Conrad was among 16 people who applied for the chief’s position that included a rigorous review to narrow the list to five (5) finalists.

Read previous articles:

Louisville is looking for a new police chief

Black ministers uncomfortable with a White police chief?

How Steve Conrad and Cindy Shain kept Louis Coleman and the Klan from fighting

WHAS-11 reports:

WAVE-3 reports:

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Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).  The Arena is read by more people in Louisville than in any other city in America.

About Thomas McAdam
At various times I have been a student, a soldier, a college Political Science teacher, a political campaign treasurer, and legal adviser to Louisville's Police Department and Board of Aldermen. I now practice law and share my political opinions with anyone who will listen.
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