LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The search for a new police chief in Louisville is in its early stages. Mayor Greg Fischer (D) is asking the public to tell the city what they want in a police leader. Their input will help the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) find the next chief.
On June 10, Fischer first asked for the public's help by filling out a survey, a survey he wanted every resident of the city to fill out. It would allow everyone to state the most important qualities and priorities they want from a new chief of police. The mayor's office says it will take three weeks to get everyone's participation.
The PERF. But what is PERF, and how do they plan to provide a new leader at LMPD? According to its website, it is a Washington, DC nonprofit think tank founded in 1979. It provides guidance and materials — both paid and free — to help shape policies that will hopefully lead to better-policing relationships.
Numerous departments have asked PERF for guidance in the past. LMPD has leaned on the organization before and, in 2018, former Deputy Chief Michael Sullivan received one of two national awards from PERF. Sullivan later took a job at Baltimore’s police department. And Acting Chief Robert Schroader joined PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler on June 18 for a forum.
Schroeder said, "A lot of our challenges really start with the damage that’s been done to our community relations, you know? The department, over the last several years, has really been doing a lot of work to move that forward. And the incidents – between our police shootings and some of the national police shootings – have really put a dent in that, to the point where some of our long term partners are questioning whether they actually want to be our partners right now."
In addition to the public survey, one is also being conducted within LMPD, focus groups are planned, and then PERF will compile all of the feedback to guide a national search for Louisville’s next chief. Mayor Fischer says the entire process should take 4-to-6 months.
As far as opinions from leadership within PERF, Executive Director Chuk Wexler recently commented that major reform must be made in departments, but does not agree with defunding the police.