Louisville Urban League proposes changes to city’s next contract with local police union
The Louisville Urban League and other advocacy organizations unveiled well over a dozen recommendations Monday that they want Mayor Craig Greenberg to consider as his administration prepares to negotiate a new contract with the local police union.
Louisville Urban League President and CEO Kish Cumi Price stressed the need for these changes, especially after U.S. Justice Department investigators determined Louisville Metro Police officers repeatedly violated the civil rights of Black residents. Federal officials released a report on the matter last week.
“We have to understand that that is the reality,” Price said at Monday’s news conference. “That they actually feel justified in doing what they’re doing because they see Black people as threats. Period.”
The Urban League teamed up with the ACLU of Kentucky and the 490 Project, a local organization that works against police violence, to review the city’s current collective bargaining agreement with the River City Fraternal Order of Police union, which represents local officers.
They came up with an initial batch of suggestions, and Price said they plan to present those to Greenberg’s team.
A couple of their recommendations focus on forging closer connections between officers and the communities they patrol, such as increasing incentives for officers to live in the same area where they work.
The groups also proposed an array of provisions concerning how officers are investigated and disciplined for problematic behavior. And they want to require more transparency on those situations, including requiring LMPD to retain relevant records for five years.
Price emphasized their recommendations are aimed at helping address longstanding concerns with the police department’s policies and conduct.
“It takes courage to be a police officer, but it also takes courage to police right. It takes courage to understand what you’re called to do: Protect and serve everybody,” she said. “We’re asking for what we know is required in order to move us in that direction.”
The city is moving forward with planned negotiations with the police union.
The mayor’s administration agreed to keep the actual talks with union representatives closed to the public as they hammer out a proposed agreement. But there could be opportunities for the public to provide feedback.
Kevin Trager, a spokesperson for Greenberg, told LPM News in a statement, “We welcome and encourage any and all community input on the collective bargaining agreement with the FOP.”
The city is in the process of negotiating a consent decree with the DOJ. That court-enforced agreement will serve as the framework for police reform in the city. Federal officials say they want community feedback as part of that process.