Lexington FOP president says city leaders not willing to discuss understaffing problems

WEKU | By John McGary

The president of Lexington’s Fraternal Order of Police says city leaders aren’t serious about addressing understaffing issues in the department. Sergeant Jeremy Russell said they’re 128 sworn officers short, with at least eight more leaving by the end of the year. He said Lexington police have the third-lowest starting salary among city law enforcement units.

“If you’re a new young person moving to Lexington are interested in law enforcement. Why in the world would you choose Lexington Police Department over the sheriff’s department or UK PD?”

A statement from Mayor Linda Gorton’s office said starting pay has increased 43 percent since she took office in 2019 and every police officer is making at least 26 percent more. Russell, who’s been on the force for 21 years, said understaffing is causing problems for his colleagues.

“Right now with having fewer and fewer officers on the street. You’re going from call call to call to call so you don’t have that time to decompress. So not only are there more stressors while you’re actually on the job, you get to take all that home with you as well.”

Gorton’s statement said the pay increases she’s backed has led to top pay topping $80,000 for officers and $100,000 for sergeants.

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Photo: Sgt. Jeremy Russell, the president of FOP Lodge 4, says city leaders aren’t seriously addressing understaffing at the Lexington Police Department. (Stephanie Wade Photography)

Republished with permission.