LMPD officer at center of Youth Explorer investigation identified, reassigned

LMPD officer who worked with teens under investigation

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Louisville Metro Police Department officer who helps train teens to become police officers finds himself the subject of a serious investigation.

WAVE 3 News was the first to report that an officer who works with teens ages 14-19 was being investigated. Thursday, WAVE 3 News confirmed through multiple sources associated with the department that the officer is Brandon Wood.

The Youth Explorer program is for young men and women interested in a career in law-enforcement. The Explorers assist the department during the busy holiday shopping months at area malls, Thunder Over Louisville, Pegasus Parade, Kentucky Oaks and Derby and other community events.

The nature of the investigation has not been disclosed, but Wood, who himself was an Explorer, has been working with the group since he became an officer eight years ago.

Wood joined LMPD in 2008 and became an adviser in the Explorer program the same year. Wood was a teenage Explorer for seven years before joining the force.

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Late Thursday, WAVE 3 News obtained a copy of Wood's 30-page LMPD personnel file. It doesn't mention the Explorer program but reveals he started his career with a commendation in 2009 for assisting on arrest. He would receive more commendations throughout his eight years on the force including most recently in 2015 for recovering stolen packages.

The file, though, is also littered with reprimands. The first came in 2010 for missing a court date. That would be a common problem for Wood, getting him suspended twice, in 2013 and again in 2014.

He would also receive reprimands for obedience to orders, a towing violation and a car accident.

By far the biggest issue in Wood's file is a nine-day suspension for use of deadly force in 2012.

According to the file, Wood fired his gun at a stolen car as it was driving away. No one was hurt in the incident. Wood was suspended a year later in 2013.

In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America, which partners with LMPD for the Explorer program, told WAVE 3 News it was contacted by LMPD on Monday to alert them to an investigation into an associate Explorer adviser. Upon learning of the investigation, the Boy Scouts said they revoked that officer's registration as a volunteer in their organization.

Although the Boy Scouts did not mention that officer by name, multiple sources associated with the police department confirmed to WAVE 3 News that it was Wood. After appearing on the LMPD Explorer website for years, Wood's name has now been removed.

LMPD posted the following statement on its Facebook page Thursday:

"We continue to stress that allegations of our members involved in criminal wrongdoing are very concerning and something we take quite serious. Our Public Integrity Unit received information that necessitated an investigation into an officer's behavior surrounding our Youth Explorer Program. At this time, the case remains an active investigation and to protect the integrity of the investigation we are unable to provide additional details."

LMPD spokeswoman Alicia Smiley told WAVE 3 News on Thursday that Wood is no longer affiliated with the Explorer program and is now on administrative reassignment. Messages to Officer Wood seeking comment have not been returned, and he has pulled down his Facebook page.

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