VIPER officers under investigation have faced problems, commenda - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

VIPER officers under investigation have faced problems, commendations in police careers

Lieutenant Kit Steimle Lieutenant Kit Steimle

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Personnel records provided insight into the pasts of two Louisville Metro Police Department officers who were reassigned from the department's prestigious VIPER unit.

VIPER commander Lieutenant Kit Steimle is under an internal investigation and one of its officers Carl Payne is on leave while a different investigation moves forward. This is not the first time either officer has come under scrutiny, but these are also highly awarded officers.

"It basically says that if you're carrying guns illegally, in Louisville, that we're going to get you," said Steimle, shortly after the VIPER unit he commanded hit the streets of Louisville a year and a half ago to target the city's most violent criminals.

In a letter from January of this year, LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad said the unit has been successful with a 14 percent decrease in violent crime in targeted areas and a nomination for Commanding Officer of the Year for Steimle. A month after that letter went out, Steimle was reassigned from the unit while an internal affairs investigation progresses.

Records indicate it's not his first. Steimle has been reprimanded four times after investigations, twice for conduct unbecoming an officer, including an accusation of racial discrimination.

Detective Carl Payne's file revealed even more. In June of last year, Payne had his police powers suspended for more than five months following his arrest in Hardin County for drunk driving. He was also suspended from work for 20 days.

Within months, he'd be on leave again, this time as the police unit that investigates potential criminal cases looks into allegations made by Chaka Murrell. She told investigators Payne sent her inappropriate texts and videos.    

His lawyer said last week Payne is cooperating.

"It's our hope when all is said and done that this will not result in any sort of criminal charge," said attorney Brian Butler.

Butler said Payne is a hard working officer who helped take many criminals off Louisville streets.

Both he and Steimle have been part of several units nominated for department awards.

LMPD has not said what the internal, administrative investigation of Lieutenant Steimle pertains to. 

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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