Metro Louisville

A new leader will take over the troubled Louisville Metro Department of Corrections next month.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Tuesday that Lt. Col. Jerry Collins, currently the Jail Commander in Clark County, Ind., will replace Dwayne Clark, who’s served in the jail director post since 2019. Collins previously worked in Louisville’s corrections department, according to a press release from Fischer’s office. He started as a corrections officer in 2000, and was a major in charge of operations and training in 2021, when he retired from LMDC.

photo of new Metro Corrections Director Jerry Collins wearing a suit and tieLouisville Metro Government

Lt. Col. Jerry Collins.

Clark tendered his retirement last week, days after a seventh person died in jail custody since late November. The latest death led to renewed demands for his termination

“[Collins] knows our community, he knows LMDC, having worked his way up through every position there, and is considered an innovative thinker with an extensive background in training,” Fischer said in a press release. 

“I’m well aware of challenges facing jail officers and employees,” Collins said in the press release “I am confident that we can overcome those challenges and build on the team’s good work and commitment to sound, compassionate correctional care.”

Last month, Fischer ordered a third-party review of the Metro Department of Corrections and hired two high-ranking assistant chiefs in an effort to improve the department’s performance. The inquiry into the jail is still underway.

Days later, Metro Council authorized a separate investigation into the in-custody deaths as well as jail training, policies and procedures. That came along with a vote of no confidence in Clark and jail leadership. 

Collins will begin in the position on April 4.

Yasmine Jumaa is WFPL’s race and equity reporter.