Proposed changes to LMPD policy could increase transparency, accountability

Resolutions on drug and alcohol testing of officers after critical incidents, as well as the release of evidence in internal investigations, are up for vote.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Metro Council Public Safety Committee will look at resolutions that would change the way the Louisville Metro Police Department handles cases in a meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Metro Council members said the city is seeing very little transparency from LMPD and the office of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, especially with recent cases like the deaths of Breonna Taylor and David McAtee. The proposed policy changes aim to make the department more accountable and transparent.

There are two pieces of legislation up for discussion at the meeting, which will be held at 3:30 p.m. on July 15. The first would require drug and alcohol testing of Louisville Metro Police officers when critical incidents occur, for instance, when officers fire their weapons.

Another resolution up for a vote would speed up the process of how quickly police investigations are closed. Current LMPD policy, according to the proposed resolution, dictates that evidence relating to an internal investigation of an officer is not released until all investigations are completed. 

The resolution urges the department to release evidence of officer interactions with the public as early as possible, as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the investigation or violate any privacy laws.

Metro Council President David James said there are cases from four years ago that are still under investigation, so only a few details have been made public.

“That adds a tremendous amount of frustration amongst our citizens and police officers,” James said. “Because if they have a complaint against them that may not be true, they’re under a cloud of suspicion until they’re cleared also. It’s imperative our government be much more transparent and responsive to our citizens.”

If the resolutions are approved by the full Metro Council, the changes would take place immediately.

Mayor Fischer’s administration is under investigation by the Louisville Metro Council Government Oversight and Audit Committee. The investigation, which was approved Tuesday, will focus on protests centered around the shooting of Breonna Taylor.

The Louisville Metro Police Department is also undergoing a top-to-bottom review by consulting firm Hillard Heintze. The company will review several aspects of the department including its use of force, bias-free policing, accountability, supervision, and community engagement.  

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