Several Louisville Metro Police officers called out sick Tuesday in a form of protest referred to as the “blue flu.”
Louisville Metro Police Department 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 Pleasure Ridge Park, Valley Station and Fairdale.
Halladay said the department was handling calls for service as needed.
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 Louisville Metro Police officers were on board with the sick-out.