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Louisville Metro Police Chief Details $170-Million Budget Request

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad on Wednesday asked the Metro Council to approve a near $170-million budget that includes funding for body cameras and more officers.

The 2015-2016 allocation for police is about $2 million less than the previous year, according to the budget.

Conrad on Wednesday outlined the details of the budget to Metro Council members.

He spent much of the 90-minute presentation answering council members' questions regarding body cameras—which Louisville police officers in the Fifth Division began wearing as a pilot program earlier this month.

Mayor Greg Fischer has proposed spending nearly $2.8 million on the complete body camera program. About $950,000 of that will be general fund money.

So far, the police department has spent about $247,000 on the pilot program, which includes software, hardware and about 100 cameras, Conrad said. That money came from police forfeiture funds, he said.

The complete body camera program will include about 1,000 cameras, he said.

Other details Conrad outlined was the need for $3.5 million for the purchase of new vehicles, including cruisers and tow trucks. Conrad said older vehicles that can no longer be used within the department are auctioned after being stripped of all police equipment.

Some of the equipment, like computers, can be reused in newer vehicles.

The department is also asking for nearly $500,000 to upgrade in-car computer systems.

Police are also seeking to add 72 officers. On average, an officer costs the city about $75,000 each year, Conrad said, which includes training, uniforms and salaries.

The budget also outlines a more than $450,000 expenditure for ammunition.

Conrad said he also expects more reimbursements coming into police this year than in years past, in part because neighborhood organization will be required to cover a greater part of the costs associated with having police presence at community events, like festivals.

In the next fiscal year, neighborhood organizations will be required to pay half of what it costs to station a sworn police officer at an event, Conrad said. In future years, it will be 100 percent.

The funding is a collection of city, state and federal money, among other sources, and is part of Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed budget currently being examined by the council.

The council will continue holding budget hearings through next week. They’re expected to vote to finalize the budget on June 25.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.