Louisville’s first inspector general prepares team for LMPD misconduct investigations

On June 1, a new inspector general will lead the Civilian Review and Accountability Board, which will look into LMPD disciplinary matters independently.
Published: May. 20, 2022 at 5:05 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - On June 1, a new inspector general will take the helm of the newly constituted Civilian Review and Accountability Board, which will usher in a new level of independent review for topics pertaining to LMPD disciplinary matters.

Edward Harness was selected to serve as the city of Louisville’s first inspector general in November of 2021. Harness served as a police officer in Milwaukee, is an attorney, and most recently served as the executive director of the Civilian Police Oversight in Albuquerque.

”In the aftermath of Ferguson, I took a step back and looked at my skillset and thought that it was appropriate to be a professional in police oversight,” Harness said.

He was hired by Mayor Greg Fischer after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into LMPD to determine whether there is a pattern of excessive force. In December 2020, Mayor Fischer signed an ordinance formally establishing the Civilian Review and Accountability Board.

Harness said he is not sure how the November 2022 mayoral election will impact his team.

”I am just anticipating that there will be some change. What that change looks like, I really would have no idea,” Harness said.

Harness said the only things that were in his office when he first arrived in Louisville were a desk and a computer. He said there were just six empty seats next door. Now, he said his team is almost trained and ready to review claims against LMPD officers and their interactions with people.

”While we are here to hold the department accountable for their actions, we also have a duty to tell the public when the police are doing things correctly,” Harness said.

Harness said he wants to make it his mission for the general public to have a deeper understanding of police. Chief Erika Shields will determine the appropriate disciplinary action to take against the officers after the investigations have been completed.

In their investigations, he said they also analyze data and make recommendations based on trends, numbers and observation. That includes access to LMPD’s database, officer body cam footage, and much more.

As far as past investigations, Harness said they don’t plan to look backwards. They are going to start from scratch with brand new complaints.

Heading into summer, Harness hopes people know the complaint form is on the city’s website and they have a say in how they are policed.

“I also believe that the community deserves to be policed the way it wants to be policed. And that is why civilian oversight is an important part of that,” Harness said.

Harness said all complaints are confidential and can be submitted anonymously.

To file a complaint against LMPD, click here.

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