Editorial: Mental health center on ballot

July 20, 2018. Lawrence Journal-World.

Douglas County commissioners are right to support a ballot initiative asking voters to approve funding for a behavioral health campus and expanded mental health programming.

The issue, which still must be finalized, will be on the ballot in November. The move follows voters’ rejection in May of a half-cent sales tax proposal that would have funded both an expanded Douglas County Jail as well as the behavioral health campus.

That contentious vote failed in large part due to organized opposition from groups like Justice Matters that supported the mental health campus but were staunchly opposed to the expanded jail. The vote was 53 percent against the ballot issue and 47 percent for it.

Report: Duval poised to be a state leader in juvenile civil citation use

June 26, 2018. Florida Times-Union.

For years, juvenile justice advocates slammed Duval County for arresting dozens of kids each month who could have avoided court and entanglement in the juvenile justice system altogether if they’d been offered a simple alternative.

But, a new report released Tuesday highlights the upward trend in the last year in that alternative — pre-arrest diversion, also called a civil citation — in the area judicial circuit. The progress followed the signing of a new memorandum of understanding among 22 local agencies, including the State Attorney’s Office of the Fourth Judicial Circuit, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and agencies from Clay and Nassau counties. Now, the report says, Duval County could be among the top-performing counties statewide in 2018.

Fischer promises to respond to demand for police evaluation in six weeks

June 25, 2018. Insider Louisville.

In a years-in-the-making meeting with community faith leaders Friday afternoon, Mayor Greg Fischer pushed back on their demands for an independent evaluation of how the Louisville Metro Police Department applies standard operating procedures in its internal investigations into its officers’ use of force.

Rev. Reginald Barnes, co-president of the religious organization CLOUT, or Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together, repeatedly asked Fischer during an at-times contentious 30-minute meeting whether the mayor would agree to such an evaluation.

Barnes said that via an open records request with the department, CLOUT had identified 68 cases since 2012 wherein his group asserts that standard operating procedures regarding use of force by LMPD officers did not apply de-escalation tactics in internal reviews of officer conduct.

CLOUT meets with mayor, chief to address concerns about use of force

June 22, 2018. WLKY

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A group of concerned citizens want the mayor to take a look at the way metro police use force in some situations.

Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together, known as CLOUT, spent 30 minutes talking to the mayor and the police chief.

Members of the group said they’re concerned police use excessive force in some situations when dealing with the mentally ill and drug-addicted.

Fischer To Meet With Group Critical Of LMPD Crisis Policies

June 22, 2018. WFPL.

The head of a Louisville faith-based group and the mayor will meet Friday to discuss safer policing months after multiple requests for the mayor to meet.

Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together (CLOUT) Co-President Reginald Barnes said the goal of the meeting is to prompt an external review of Louisville Metro Police Department policies. Barnes said better policing techniques could help keep citizens and officers safe, and prevent police shootings, like that of Darnell Wicker in 2016.