In the nearly one year that has passed since the “summer of love” kicked off in 2020, the Metropolitan Police Department in Louisville, Kentucky has taken a beating, both literally and figuratively. The sustained protests and riots surrounding the shooting of Breonna Taylor have featured attacks on officers, police vehicles and precinct buildings. Two officers were shot during an ambush attack last September, though both of them thankfully survived. And the cops haven’t exactly been receiving much vocal support from City Hall (to put it mildly). This situation has led a number of uniformed officers to take early retirement or simply quit to go look for work elsewhere. The number of cops leaving the force has reached the point where the LMPD is now short of its required staffing levels by hundreds of officers and they aren’t finding enough qualified applicants to replace them. (Fox News)
Nearly 190 cops left the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) in 2020 and 43 have stepped away from the Kentucky city’s agency so far in 2021, either choosing to retire or resign altogether, as law enforcement officials struggle to recruit new members to make up for a deficit in manpower, authorities and a union spokesperson told Fox News on Tuesday.
“I would say that we’re in dire straits,” said River City Fraternal Order of Police press secretary Dave Mutchler, speaking to the current condition of LMPD staffing. Mutchler also serves as a spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Officer Union.
Statistics provided by LMPD on Tuesday show the department has hired 26 new members so far this year, while 43 have left. The 1,069-person department falls 255 people short of its “authorized strength” of 1,324 — the number of personnel it is authorized to employ, statistics show.
The LMPD did manage to hire 104 new officers last year (somehow) but that was far short of the 188 they lost to early retirement or resignations. Thus far in 2021 they have hired 26 while 43 more have hit the bricks. The local FOP press secretary described the current force levels as “critically low.”
As he went on to point out, “those who would break the law” have been paying attention to these headlines. Violent crime and murder rates are “through the roof” in 2021, and the vast majority of those crimes were not directly associated with the protests. The bad guys are aware that the police are stretched very thin right now and response times to reported crimes are increasing, making life a bit easier for gang members.
Shootings in Louisville are currently up 84% compared to the same period last year. Arson is similarly on the rise, with many of the targets being government buildings and police stations. The city is also frequently plagued with the same sort of vandalism being seen in other large, metropolitan areas, with graffiti showing up encouraging people to “kill the cops.”
Is it any wonder that morale is low on the police force and officers are leaving in droves? It probably didn’t help matters when municipal officials came out this week saying they “fully support” an investigation being launched by Merrick Garland into the practices used by the LMPD. The police in Louisville are being physically attacked in the streets and verbally assaulted by the city government. Perhaps the most amazing part of this story is the fact that they managed to find 26 people willing to put on a police uniform this year.
This situation is quite simply unsustainable. Once the force falls below the critical mass of officers needed to maintain day-to-day patrols and routine functions, Louisville will start turning into the wild west. They can draw on the county Sheriff’s Department and the State Troopers to bolster their ranks for a while, but that’s only going to be possible for a limited amount of time. Beyond that, you can expect to see criminal activity on par with what Baltimore regularly experiences and possibly some vigilante activity by residents who realize that the system is imploding and they are no longer being kept safe.