LMDC investigation findings presented to Metro Council committee

Former FBI agent David Beyer presented some of his findings to Metro Council’s government oversight and audit committee.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:59 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Louisville Metro Department of Corrections has been under investigation for the last year.

Former FBI agent David Beyer presented some of his findings to Metro Council’s government oversight and audit committee.

13 people have died in the Louisville jail since November 2021. 10 of those have been overdoses or suicides.

“That number could’ve been much greater, but for the fact that they have Narcan and have been using that,” Beyer said.

Since last April, correction officers have used Narcan on 69 inmates. Beyer said it highlights the need of having to get contraband under control.

He compared LMDC to three other jails. One in Oldham County, one in Lexington, and one in Nevada.

Oldham County hasn’t had a suicide or overdose in 20 years, Lexington has only had 3 overdoes in 23 years, and the Nevada jail hasn’t had an overdose in five years.

“The concept is the same,” Beyer said. “You’re housing people, you have to make sure that they’re searched properly, you need to have good observation of the cells.”

However, it wasn’t just about the deaths.

Beyer said there’s a problem with the facilities, inadequate staffing, and employees having too many responsibilities.

For instance, some control employees have to watch 100 to 120 cameras.

“In two instances of the deaths that have occurred here, cameras were installed, had they been monitored, we probably could’ve saved the lives of those two people,” Beyer said.

There’s also been some problems with the employees at the jail.

“As I’ve said, I’ve interviewed over 60 people and every interview I asked the question ‘do you think sexual harassment is a problem at corrections?’ There wasn’t one person that ever said no it’s not a problem,” Beyer said.

Beyer said there’s been incidents of male employees groping women and exposing themselves.

He said some employees call it “friendly banter.”

“But for somebody to think that they can do that on the job, there’s got to be something wrong with either the recruiting of people, the training of people, or the culture that allows something like that to happen,” Beyer said.

Beyer commended LMDC director Jerry Collins implementing a new sexual harassment policy and trying to change the culture.

Collins has already fired two people for violations of the new policy.

“Unfortunately folks had to be made an example of. There was zero tolerance and we had to get rid of some folks for that,” Collins said.

Collins said they’ve hired 85 officers in the last year, but have also had let go of a lot officers because of the culture change.

“We’ve got focused on the culture, we got to focus on retention, we got to focus on the safety of folks that are inside there, and everything we can do and everybody can contribute to that,” Collins said. “That’s why I welcome this report.”

The entire report is 300 pages long.