The beleaguered Louisville Police Department has been hemorrhaging officers since the Breonna Taylor shooting, in the face of a federal investigation and a soaring murder rate.
More than 230 cops have either retired, resigned or been fired since 2020 — a more than 20 percent decrease — and the department is struggling to make up the manpower deficit with new recruits, Fox News reports.
At the same time, deadly violence has sharply risen in Kentucky’s biggest city, with 201 shootings so far reported this year compared to 109 from the same time last year, and a 75 percent increase in annual murders through April 25, police data shows.
Two officers were shot in September after a grand jury did not indict cops in the killing of Taylor.
“I would say that we’re in dire straits,” said River City Fraternal Order of Police press secretary and police union spokesman Dave Mutchler, according to the article.
“Our manpower is critically low,” Mutchler reportedly said. “One thing we have to consider when we’re talking about recruiting is that in the climate that we currently find ourselves, the pool of people wanting to become officers is shrinking every day.”
The 1,069-person department is now 225 people short of its target force size, and only 26 new recruits have signed on this year, according to the article.
A large majority — 118 — of the 188 people who left LMPD last year resigned, Fox reports.
“We’re obviously losing a lot more officers than we are gaining. And if that continues, at what point can we not operate appropriately?” Mutchler reportedly said.
Earlier this week, The Justice Department announced it will look into whether the department routinely violates people’s constitutional rights after police shot and killed Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, during a drug raid.
No drugs were found during the March 13, 2020 incident, where police opened fire after Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them, mistaking them for intruders.
“[The investigation] will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said Monday.
Prosecutors announced a similar investigation in Minneapolis in the wake of the George Floyd shooting.
“It is clear that the public officials in Minneapolis and Louisville, including those in law enforcement, recognize the importance and urgency of our efforts. We come to them as partners, knowing that we share a common aim,” Garland said.
Federal investigators could impose a consent decree; a court order which mandates police reform.
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