Metro Council discussion about next LMPD chief happened despite meeting format [Opinion: The Arena]

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A community meeting, which was organized under the guise of discussion about selecting LMPD Chief Robert White's replacement, was held at the Nia Center last night. Residents of districts 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were invited to attend. Another, similar meeting, was held in district 2 at the Newberg Community Center.

The Nia Center meeting was well attended and was mostly African American. The meeting was also attended by members of Occupy Louisville, some of whom live in districts 6 and 4. There were other occupants who have claimed Councilman Tandy's district 4, because Occupy Louisville is in his district.

Councilman Tandy has not visited Occupy Louisville.

Upon entering the meeting, attendees were encouraged to sign in, and grab a packet. The packet consisted of 5 sheets of paper held together by a staple. The front sheet outlined a 6 point agenda, and the remaining 4 sheets detailed a series of questions for attendees to give essay answers to. The four question groups were essentially a survey on LMPD customer satisfaction.

The most appalling thing about this packet and its four groups of questions, was that nowhere in this packet was there any indication of this forum attempting to ask residents about what they want in a new police chief. The questions read more like a police satisfaction survey then a poll about what qualities Louisville residents would like to see in their next police chief.

Council members said they had little to no influence in the development of the questions.

Citizens expressed outrage and that they felt, “Insulted,” when asked questions like, “How effective do you believe the Metro Police Department has been in accomplishing crime control within your district,” at a meeting titled, “Louisville Metro Council discussion on new LMPD chief.”

Apparently, the office of Dr. Deborah Keeling from the Department of Justice Administration at University of Louisville is where these ridiculous and insulting questions originated from.

How about this question for Dr Keeling: “What does that have to do with expressing what we want from our next chief of police?”

The citizens in attendance were not to be trifled with. They vehemently expressed their dissatisfaction with the survey, the meeting format and the idea that their opinions were apparently not even wanted. In lieu of just following along with the format, the citizens took back the essence of the meeting and Metro Council members eventually obliged. Most people avoided the packet's questions altogether and told Metro Council what they want from their new police chief.

Requests included a chief with a social and historical understanding of the black community and race relations. Some individuals spoke strongly about a need for an individual experienced in relationship building between the police force and communities. The entire room agreed that there must be a larger African-American presence in the police force throughout Metro Louisville. The hopes behind this are to thwart racially insensitive actions and behaviors, including profiling. One interesting suggestion offered by an audience member was that citizens should have the ability to ask questions of the final round of chief candidates before Mayor Fischer makes his decision.

It was clearly explained by David Tandy that the person who has the last say about hiring the next police chief is the mayor. So, if the next chief is a jerk, Mayor Fischer can always say, “Well, we did talk to the community about it before I made this decision.”

According to WDRB, concerned citizens of other districts can take part in this tomfoolery on December 7th and December 17th.

Image via Louisville Metro Council website

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).

 

 

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