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FOP President on Lexington police shortage: "It will get worse with continued lack of support from the city"

Posted at 8:12 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 20:15:24-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — As we've reported, the number of Lexington police officers leaving the force is at an alarming rate. It's the highest in ten years according to Public Safety Commission Ken Armstrong.

Sgt. Jeremy Russell, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Bluegrass Lodge 4, predicts that even more officers will leave now that the Lexington council voted 10-5 to ban no-knock warrants. It became law today.

Russell says officers don't feel like city leaders have their back.

"The continued lack of support from the city will have a detrimental effect on the public," said Russell.

In an interview with LEX 18 a month ago, Russell said the officer shortage will get worse.

"I personally predict we'll be 100 below by July 1," Russell said on May 27.

LEX 18 checked back with Russell today, June 25. He said by July 5, the department will be down 98 officers, if not more. That's 15% shy of full capacity.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, who did not support the ban of no-knock warrants, spoke to media after Thursday night's council meeting. He looks at the issue not as a policy change, but as a tactic and strategy issue.

"No-knocks are a strategy that we'll have to take out of our toolbox," said Weathers.

Weathers is well-aware of how frustrated many of his officers are these days, so frustrated some are leaving.

"The moral issue is just something we'll have to deal with," said Weathers.