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Council Pushes For New Police Headquarters, Threatens To Delay Votes

Louisville Metro Police headquarters
Louisville Metro Police headquarters

A bipartisan group of Metro Council members wants a new or improved police headquarters. And they want it so much they’re threatening to postpone votes on any future major funding project until Mayor Greg Fischer proposes a plan to pay for upgrading the Louisville Metro Police Department headquarters.The group has submitted a resolution to the council budget committee — which is chaired by Democrat Marianne Butler — that seeks to put Fischer and “each of his executive departments” on notice that the council “intends to postpone the vote on any future bond issuance, debt obligation, or other major funding project until a proposal and funding mechanism” for a new police headquarters is presented to the council.The non-binding measure is sponsored by Democrat David James and Republicans Angela Leet, Robin Engel, Julie Denton, Scott Reed and Stuart Benson. Leet is a candidate for mayor against Fischer.“In order to perform their critical work, LMPD must have adequate facilities,” the sponsors wrote.A spokesman for Fischer said the council has already had the opportunity to lead on this issue and failed.Chris Poynter, Fischer’s spokesman, said the mayor proposed $1.8 million in last year’s budget to lease a new police headquarters.“The council took all of that money out,” Poynter said.James, a sponsor of the measure, said Fischer’s proposal fell short. James said the mayor sought to spend city funds to lease a space for a new police headquarters.“We need a city-owned police complex,” James said. “We want it to be city-owned and city-operated, not a leased facility.”The city’s police headquarters is located at the corner of Seventh and Jefferson streets in downtown Louisville.The building needs about $15 million in repair, according to a 2016 report from WDRB News.It’s riddled with busted, leaky pipes and houses an outdated auxiliary jail on the upper floor.Tony Hyatt, a spokesman for the council’s majority Democratic caucus, said the measure would not be discussed at Monday’s meeting because Leet is not expected to be there.The committee is next scheduled to meet on Thursday.

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.

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