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'We need more common sense, period': LPD chief addresses rise in gun violence

Posted at 2:44 PM, Apr 22, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — In a candid 30-minute session with reporters Thursday morning inside the Lexington Division of Police headquarters, Chief Lawrence Weathers addressed the homicide rate, which is becoming an epidemic in this city of roughly 300,000 people.

“Fifteen homicides is very concerning,” Weathers said.

That’s how many police have been called to investigate so far in 2021. We have another 8 ½ months to surpass last year’s total of 34, which at this point seems inevitable.

“You could look at it that way,” Weathers said, when told the city was on pace to break its record. “But we can go months without one, and then, we get a bunch.”

Weathers said he knows as the weather warms, and pandemic restrictions ease up, it’ll be more likely for conflicts to escalate. But he’s not convinced that most of these shootings are gang-related, and he knows they’re being carried out when police presence in a neighborhood is known to be light.

“We need people from the community to be involved in, 1, letting us know when there might be a potential conflict, and 2, when they think there might be a potential conflict, intervening or trying to find some other method to stop it,” Weathers said. “We can't be everywhere at once. This is not something police handling themselves will be able to stem,” he continued.

Weathers said added patrols will come as the weather warms up during the nighttime hours, and while he didn’t suggest the state levy more common-sense gun laws, he did advocate for more common sense.

“We need more common sense about guns, period.”

In unrelated topics, the chief shared his thoughts about the department’s relations with the city less than one year after weeks of nightly protesting. He said that the relationship is still somewhat “fractured,” but feels it’ll improve as officers can return to the community more freely when pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Of the Derek Chauvin murder conviction, Weathers said it was “totally appropriate,” given the former officer used tactics he’s never seen, and that were “totally wrong.”