Louisville’s Law Enforcement Agencies to Target Violent Offenders

Louisville law enforcement is working more closely with state and federal officials to answer violent city crime.

“The message that we are very, very clearly trying to send to would-be criminals out there is to think twice before using a gun in the commission of any crime,” says Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad. “You can find yourselves literally spending the rest of your life in federal prison.”

Conrad was joined by representatives from nearly one dozen agencies and departments—including the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Jefferson County Attorney, FBI, and the U.S. Marshals—to help announce the early results of a new initiative being called Project Recoil.

The idea, officials say, is to share information across departments and to steer the most violent offenders to the appropriate courts in the most efficient way possible.

“They look at who’s been arrested. They look at who those folks are connected to and they make determinations from a collaborative standpoint as to who is going to work those cases,” says David Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky.

Conrad and others warned potential offenders that the city has increased its programs and aim for those committing the largest crimes. In the five months Project Recoil has been underway the group has been able to indict three defendants, including armed robbery and drug charges.

Unlike Louisville’s previous initiative called Project Backfire—which involved fewer agencies—Project Recoil has no funding attached. The new group meets weekly to discuss data and trends as well as specific cases with a focus on gun crimes.

Among the groups involved is Louisville’s VIPER Unit, which was formed after a series of shootings last year in May that left three individuals dead.

“From that terrible day, you saw a number of initiatives,” says Conrad. Among them were Mayor Greg Fischer’s Violence Prevention Task Force, which included a number of recommendations responding to city violence.

Project Recoil is latest initiative and is also a developing project, though Conrad believes the results can be used as a bargaining chip and to explain to future offenders the likely punishments for the crimes they commit. 

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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