Breonna Taylor aftermath sees Louisville police in 'dire straits' as crime rises amid record resignations
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: Louisville Police Department is currently struggling with a unique problem. They are not being able to recruit police officers as murders are on the rise by 75 per cent and shootings by 84 per cent in wake of Breonna Taylor's killing.
In the last 16 months, more than 230 cops have either retired or resigned from the Louisville Metro Police Department. A spokesperson for its union says that staffing shortages have left the agency in 'dire straits' while violent crime rises.
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Taylor was killed in March 2020 during a police-involved shooting. Police officers barged in with a no-knock search warrant and the 26-year-old Black EMT was fatally shot in her own home. The police had come in on a narcotics warrant, and ended up firing 32 rounds - six of which struck Taylor fatally. LMPD has since never left the news.
According to the statistics provided by the LMPD, the department has seen about 190 officers leave last year and 43 depart so far this year. And according to Fox News, LMPD has managed to hire just 26 new members in 2021.
A staggering increase in the number of murders
According to the latest reports, there has been an increase of 84 per cent in the number of non-fatal shootings with 201 reported cases, as of Sunday, May 2, 2021. During the same period last year, there were reportedly 109 non-fatal shootings.
Meanwhile, there have been 56 murders so far this year up to April 26 - a 75 per cent increase from the 32 murders reported by this time last year.
The LMPD's "authorized strength" number -- or the number of officers it is authorized to deploy -- is 1,324. But the department is staffed by 1,069 people, and stands 255 below the target number.
"Our manpower is critically low," River City Fraternal Order of Police press secretary Dave 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. We're obviously losing a lot more officers than we are gaining. And if that continues, at what point can we not operate appropriately?"
Of the 188 people who left LMPD last year, it is revealed that around 70 retired while the others resigned.
Homicide rates 'through the roof'
"We can’t emphasize enough how critically and dangerously low our manpower is, and interestingly enough, those who would break the law are paying attention to that," Mutchler said. "Our homicide rates and our violent crime rates are through the roof."
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Monday, April 26, 2021, that the Justice Department would be launching a "pattern of practice" investigation into the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government and the LMPD. This comes more than one year after Breonna's death.
"It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes," Garland said during a news conference Monday.