LMPD traffic stop changes strike concern for some, hope for others
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - LMPD officers will have to abide by a new set of rules in regards to traffic stops starting in August.
Chief Steve Conrad announced the new procedures on Friday. It includes the addition of language that emphasizes that merely being nervous or located in a high-crime area is not enough reason for certain actions.
Bishop Dennis Lyons has been advocating for change in the city for some time. While LMPD insists recent high-profile stops, like that of teenager Tae-Ahn Lea, were not a deciding factor in the policy changes, Lyons said he believes they brought attention to a larger issue.
“When it happened to both of them, it appeared that this was a trend of the Louisville Police Department," Bishop Lyons said.
Bishop Lyons created a guideline on how to handle a traffic stop with civil rights group Voices of Louisville. The pamphlet focuses on mutual respect between officers and citizens.
He said the body camera video of Tae-Ahn Lea’s traffic stop was a perfect example of respect not being reciprocated by police.
"We appreciate the traffic stops,” Bishop Lyons said. “The problem is the attitude and the behavior of the officers during the stops.”
But not everyone is on board with the changes.
FOP President Nicolai Jilek believes the new policy seemed to have been made by people who forgot the dangers of working the streets.
“Do they want me out here trying to catch bad guys or do they want me out here making sure I don't want to inconvenience anybody or not offend anybody,” Jilek said.
Jilek said over 800 pages of LMPD policy were put in place for a reason. The changes could blur the lines of officer responsibilities.
“Things happen very quickly,” Jilek said. “Decisions have to be made in fractions of a second that if you are wrong, you end up on a memorial.”
Both Bishop Lyons and Jilek have something in common - their desire for safety for all.
Jilek doesn’t want officers endangered by the policy, but Lyons said if officers don’t carry out the new policy, it could cause long term problems.
"And more resentment to the police because they wrote us another check and it bounced,” Lyons said.
The FOP president said they were not consulted by LMPD leadership regarding the updates and he hopes they can work things out before the policy is in place on August 1.
At the end of the day, Chief Conrad makes the final call.
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