LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Several LMPD officers called out sick Tuesday in a form of protest referred to as the “blue flu.”
LMPD spokesperson Jesse Halladay said a number of them scheduled to work in the 3rd Division called out, with only a few later reporting to duty. The 3rd Division includes parts of PRP, Valley Station and Fairdale.
Several sources told WAVE 3 News that all but one officer called out in the 3rd Division, while officers in the department’s 4th Division called out, too.
Halladay said the department was handling calls for service as needed.
“This is a difficult time for our city – for officers and residents,” she said. “Over the past month, officers have been asked to work many extra hours, as LMPD continues its commitment to protecting people’s First Amendment right to protest, while also working to protect everyone.”
In the past couple of weeks, officers have become increasingly vocal about what they perceive as a lack of leadership by the department and Mayor Greg Fischer, saying that has endangered lives and led to the destruction of downtown businesses.
The sick calls follow a series of issues the rank-and-file officers have tried to bring to light, such as alleged stand-down orders by Fischer during recent protests that have at times become violent. When asked, Fischer said the main approach is de-escalation, but said that Interim Chief Robert Schroeder made the call to stand down.
It also comes one day after harsh criticism from the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police. The group publicly denounced orders given to officers clearing crowds from Jefferson Square Park on Sunday to take off their riot gear or face being immediately suspended. Halladay later explained the order to have officers in regular uniforms was an effort to not fuel tensions with protesters.
Not all LMPD officers were on board with the sick-out. Some reached out to WAVE 3 News concerned over the workload left for those who did not call out.
This story will be updated.