By Jordan Grantz, Spectrum News 1

Louisville Metro Police chief Jacquelyn Gwinn–Villaroel remains on paid administrative leave because of how she handled a sexual harassment complaint within the department. Community leaders are reacting to suspension.

Rev. Dr. Angela Johnson is a pastor at Grace Hope Presbyterian Church in Louisville. The Louisville native says the public confidence in LMPD has decreased over the years.

“I think it was probably always contentious, but I think at this point it’s gotten beyond control. There is little police community trust. I don’t know that there ever was, but particularly now, it’s really bad,” Johnson said.

Johnson is on the board of Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together or CLOUT—a group of religious congregations that work to solve problems in the community. She said places of worship are places to reach people and take action toward solving community issues.

“People are gathered on a Sunday or Saturday, and that’s a way to get the word out. And, we just the process itself, lends itself to hearing from people based on stories and experiences,”said Johnson.

Researchers with Louisville Metro’s Government Truth and Transformation Initiative and the University of Louisville published “The History of Policing in Louisville: A Fact-Finding Report on Institutional Harms” last year. It looked into the city’s policing history. The study found patterns of harm toward marginalized communities, specifically African Americans.

Johnson says she would like to see change inside LMPD including a different take on policing, less violence and more resources like the Crisis Call Diversion Program. She says improving the departments’ community relations could increase the public’s trust.

She added, “If I see something happen and police community relations are improved, I’m not afraid to call the police because I do believe that they can protect me from the people that are perpetrating the harm in neighborhoods.”

Over 12,000 members and 24 congregations and groups are part of CLOUT. CLOUT will host the “History of Policing in Louisville Presentation and Discussion” on Monday, June 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Grace Hope Presbyterian Church in Louisville.

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