Drug testing for LMPD officers following a fatal shooting not required

Drug testing for LMPD officers following a fatal shooting not required
A First Check brand drug test
A First Check brand drug test
The view from the body-camera of an LMPD officer involved in a 2018 deadly shooting. (Source: LMPD)
The view from the body-camera of an LMPD officer involved in a 2018 deadly shooting. (Source: LMPD)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - At a time when drug and alcohol testing is a regular part of many workplaces, testing LMPD officers following a shooting is not mandatory.

Months after Breonna Taylor was shot and killed inside her apartment, it is still not publicly known if any of the three officers involved were asked to take a test for drugs or alcohol.

“It’s amazing to me,” Metro Council President David James said. “You know I have been a critic of the leadership of LMPD for quite some time for those types of reasons.”

James and Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith propose a new ordinance establishing mandatory drug and alcohol testing for officers involved in a “critical incident.”

The ordinance defines a critical incident as “The use of deadly force in the line of duty by a sworn Louisville Metro Police Department officer; or an action taken in the line of duty by a sworn Louisville Metro Police Department officer which results in, or potentially could have resulted in, the death or serious physical injury to the sworn officer or any other person.”

“A number of things surprised me,” District 4 Metro Councilwoman Sexton Smith said, “so I placed a phone call to someone in the department and (asked), ‘Do we typically test law enforcement officers after a critical incident? Whether it’s been firing a weapon or especially if somebody’s been injured?' And the response was, ‘I’ll have to get back to you I believe that was covered in the collective bargaining agreement.‘”

LMPD spokeswoman Jesse Halladay responded to WAVE 3 News’ questions in an email that said, “Currently, drug and alcohol testing may be conducted, but is not required.”

“It benefits the police department,” James said. “It benefits the officers themselves. It benefits our community. And it helps add legitimacy to the police department, which is something they desperately need right now.”

The proposed ordinance will be discussed before the Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee in mid-July.

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