LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

FOP: "No evidence" of hiding crime reports at Waterfront Park


There is "no evidence" that police leaders ordered officers to underreport incidents of crime at Waterfront Park or anywhere else, the head of the Louisville Fraternal Order of Police told Metro Council members.

Those rumors have swirled since an outburst of mob violence started at the park March 22, FOP President Dave Mutchler said during a Wednesday meeting of the council's public safety committee.

Mutchler and Police Chief Steve Conrad appeared before the committee as part of an update on the mob attacks, which have led to an increased police presence in Waterfront Park, beefed-up security for the weekend Thunder Over Louisville and the addition of security cameras in the park.

Mutchler questioned the validity of crime statistics in general and said it's difficult to quantify actual crime, compared with reported incidents.

And he repeatedly stressed staffing shortages in the department, saying police are more than 100 officers short of the authorized levels needed.

"I don't remember the last time we have been at our authorized strength," he said.

Mutchler also said incidents of youth mob violence aren't new – they've just received more extensive media coverage in the wake of the Waterfront Park attacks – and have been occurring for years.

Conrad said 26 cameras have been installed at the park and are still being tested, although they are expected to be fully operational by Saturday's Thunder event downtown.

Corrections workers will monitor the cameras initially, but Conrad said he hopes that police employees will ultimately be able to watch them as part of round-the-clock surveillance.

Unlike a previous proposal, the cameras will simulcast activity in the park.

Conrad said officers continue to monitor social media to observe threats, and he said nothing approaching the March 22 violence has been seen downtown in recent weeks.

Council President Jim King said the council would do whatever necessary to fund public safety. He described Waterfront Park downtown as the city's "living room."