LMPD: Changes to traffic-stop policy aimed at transparency, trust

New traffic-stop policy is now in place for Louisville officers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A new traffic-stop policy is now in place for Louisville officers.

The controversial traffic stop of a teenage boy in west Louisville last year led to accusations against LMPD of racial profiling and illegal stop and frisk.

In response to a handful of public meetings, LMPD Chief Steve Conrad announced policy changes meant to reduce bias.

Among the changes, nervous behavior or being in a high-crime location is not enough reason for an officer to initiate a stop. Traffic violations alone don’t justify an officer removing someone from a vehicle or handcuffing them. Officer Justin Witt led the training, which was mandatory for all officers.

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“If we don’t foster positive relationships with the community and they don’t trust us, then it makes our job more difficult,” Witt said. “It shows that it’s a changing culture, that we’re trying to be more transparent and tell our officers that we’re going to be held accountable.”

Updates in policy happen frequently, Witt said, adding that this one was a bit more extensive.

“Since this policy was 44 pages, it was a bit more daunting,” he said. “So we actually put together a two-hour instructional class that every officer on the department, no matter rank or title, had to come in and sit through the class to learn about the policy.”

Witt said the biggest change is officers will now have to document the reasons they’re doing things.

“People want to know why we’re doing our job a certain way, so officers are now expected to tell people, ‘This is why I’m taking you out of your car, this is why I’m placing you in handcuffs, and this is why I may be sitting you on the ground,’ and then they have to have reasons to document those things,” Witt said.

Witt said 90 percent of officers are up to speed on the new policies, and the ones who aren’t are currently on leave. Before they go back on the streets though, they will be required to complete the training.

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