Fayette County sheriff’s deputies to begin patrolling downtown

The move is to increase the police presence and address business owners' concerns about crime

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Beginning sometime in April, Fayette County sheriff’s deputies will begin patrolling in downtown Lexington in the early evening hours to increase the police presence and address business owners’ concerns about crime, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

The report says the Downtown Lexington Management District will pay for most of the salaries of the four deputies, totaling $65,000.  The City of Lexington will pay $30,000, according to the report.  The city’s money will come from savings from utilities, according to the report.

The deputies will work from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., likely from Wednesday to Saturday, according to the report.

The head of the Downtown Lexington Management District, Jim Frazier, told the newspaper he asked the city for $150,000 to extend the shift until 2:00 a.m., but the city only offered $30,000.

Frazier told the Herald-Leader the district’s $65,000 will come from money it typically uses for grants to increase lighting downtown and to help refurbish exterior buildings in the management district.  The district levies a property tax on properties within its boundaries, which is an area surrounding Main Street in the heart of downtown.  That property tax generated $481,666 in 2020, according to the report.  More than 60% of the district’s budget goes to a management company which provides ambassadors who help clean downtown, provide a friendly face for visitors and escort office workers to their buildings who don’t feel safe, according to the report.

Some downtown business owners told the newspaper they were frustrated with the city’s lack of response to increased crime and homelessness, which impacts tourism and business.

Last summer there were a string of shootings downtown, including a homicide near North Mill and Short streets.  Some business owners told the Herald-Leader there is open drug dealing that goes on around Tandy Centennial Park near the Fifth Third Pavilion area.  Business owners told the newspaper all of that creates problems for restaurants and other first-floor businesses.



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