LMPD streamlining internal affairs investigations

The reform is part of over one hundred identified by an independent review.
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:07 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Police Department is in the middle of making 150 reforms to improve how police officers do their job.

The reform efforts started following Breonna Taylor’s death and the public’s demand for justice.

Metro and LMPD have been working through issues identified by an independent review completed in 2021.

A few months later, the Justice Department launched its own federal investigation into LMPD, which is now over a year old.

Chief Erika Shields said one focus is speeding up investigating complaints against officers.

“We owe it to both the officer and the complainant that we get a response,” Shields said.

She said when she took this job, she was surprised at the backlog of complaints against officers. She’s focused the department on clearing it and speeding up internal investigations.

“If you’re going to hold an employee accountable and you want to change their job performance and improve on it, you need to be acting in a timely manner,” Shields said.

Department reports show there have been 22 PSU investigations opened through June of this year.

“When a citizen makes a complaint, they need to hear back from the department in a reasonable amount of time that someone took the complaint to heart,” Shields said.

According to the department’s report, 18 of the complaint investigations are still pending.

WAVE asked the public information office if there was a concrete timeline the department needs to stick to. A spokesperson said they were not aware of one, because complaint investigations are all unique.

Shields also said the department created a discipline matrix so officers and the public can know the range of consequences for misconduct.

“They should have some idea of what the discipline range is for behavior, but also for the public, the public should be able to see that,” Shields said.

WAVE asked the department for a copy. The spokesperson said to file a records request, which was done.

The department shows 37% of the reforms recommended by the independent review have been put in place and 47% are in progress.