LMPD, Office of the Inspector General reach agreement to increase transparency

An agreement was reached to enhance investigation into civilian complaints against LMPD.
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 1:59 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 14, 2023 at 2:45 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville mayor Craig Greenberg joined officials with the Louisville Metro Police Department and the Louisville Office of the Inspector General to increase accountability and transparency of city law enforcement.

An agreement was reached to enhance investigation into civilian complaints against LMPD, addressing the U.S. Department of Justice’s recommendation in a report of the city’s police department and Metro Government.

“Today we are taking an enormous step forward in transparency and accountability for policing in Louisville,” Greenberg said in a release. “We are taking action; we are not waiting. Since day one, our administration has been working to facilitate this agreement between LMPD and the OIG. We will continue to deliver reforms and improvements that strengthen the trust between our community and our police officers. We will continue to move our city in a new direction.”

Back in 2020, the Office of Inspector General and the Civilian Review and Accountability Board were both established to help increase the oversight and transparency of LMPD. According to a release, the office reviews practices and policies of the police department.

The memorandum of understanding announced on Tuesday was drafted between LMPD and the OIG to assist investigations from the OIG and Civilian Review and Accountability Board in two ways.

The first agreement has LMPD’s Chief requiring officers to attend witness interviews requested by the OIG. The OIG will make sure the interview process complies with the law and allows due process for officers.

The change is said to address a lack of clarity that impeded officer cooperation and participation in interviews.

The second agreement gives the OIG direct access to bodycam footage related to LMPD-related incidents under investigation. This will allow the OIG to investigate complaints from the community and address concerns of footage delay or manipulation.

“The officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department want to serve the community and help create a safer Louisville,” LMPD Interim Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel said. “To do that requires we rebuild trust between the department and the community we serve, and we are absolutely committed to doing what needs to be done to achieve this goal.”

Under the agreement, the police chief will order officers named in complaints to cooperate with investigations launched by the civilian review board.

LMPD also gives investigators unrestricted access to body cam, dash cam, ring cameras, business security videos and photos.

“Without having to request that information directly from the department,” Inspector General Edward Harness said, “we will be able to go in and directly look at it. We can identify relevant video for investigation.”

Members of Louisville Metro Council said they had been advocating for the agreement for the OIG to begin fulfilling oversight and review measures.

“I am pleased there is now an agreement in place that allows the civilian police review ordinance to function as intended,” Metro Councilwoman Paula McCraney said. “I look forward to continued cooperation between LMPD and the OIG to ensure that the public has complete confidence in their civilian review process. I am proud to have worked on this important policy and expect it to bring some needed change to our community.”

The agreement goes into effect immediately, with Gwinn-Villaroel amending LMPD’s policies and procedures to comply with the new memorandum of understanding.