Investigation into LMPD officer who worked with teens now includ - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Investigation into LMPD officer who worked with teens now includes second man

Former LMPD officer Kenneth Betts is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a teen in the Explorer program. (Source: WAVE 3 News confidential source) Former LMPD officer Kenneth Betts is accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a teen in the Explorer program. (Source: WAVE 3 News confidential source)
Officer Brandon Wood (Source: LMPD) Officer Brandon Wood (Source: LMPD)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The ongoing investigation surrounding LMPD's Youth Explorer Program took a significant turn Monday.

WAVE 3 News has learned the investigation into alleged inappropriate behavior by a Louisville Metro Police officer now includes one of his former colleagues.

That second man is Kenneth Betts, a former LMPD officer who also worked in the Explorer program. 

On Friday, WAVE 3 News reported that LMPD removed Betts from the program because of alleged inappropriate behavior back in 2013. Monday, WAVE 3 News learned he's also involved in the current investigation into officer Brandon Wood, and that the Commonwealth Attorney is now reviewing the case for possible criminal charges against them both.

Betts and Wood go back years. Before they were police officers together, they were Explorers together, spending years in LMPD's youth training program before graduating to the force.

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The two men never cut ties with the Explorers, as both continued working as officer advisers with the teens.

Officer Wood was removed from the Explorer program while LMPD's Public Integrity Unit investigates him for alleged inappropriate behavior.

WAVE 3 News has learned that's not the first accusation of inappropriate behavior made against an officer in the Explorer program. 

Sources told WAVE 3 News a then-27-year-old Betts allegedly made unwanted sexual advances to a 16-year-old Explorer in a series of text messages sent while he was an officer adviser in the program. 

The Boy Scouts of America, which partners with LMPD for the Explorers, said Betts was kicked out of the program around that time for inappropriate behavior. But, Betts was allowed to remain on the force for another year before he eventually resigned, LMPD said.

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As for the investigation into Wood, the exact nature of his alleged wrongdoing remains unclear. The department, and Wood's attorney, have yet to provide details. WAVE 3 News is still working to independently confirm the nature of the allegations against Wood.

Woods' attorney, Steve Schroering, said his client "maintains his innocence of any criminal activity." Schroering said Woods has been stripped of many of his police duties until this investigation is complete.

Betts has not responded to several requests for comment by WAVE 3 News.

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Meanwhile, Clint Scharff, chief operations officer for the Boy Scouts of America Learning for Life Lincoln Chapter, said the Explorer program continues to operate. There is a new fall class of 43 teens being trained right now under the guidance of about a dozen LMPD officers.

Scharff said the Boy Scouts will wait until the investigation into Wood is complete before deciding if any changes to the way the program operates are necessary.

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