LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Days after a scathing report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed a pattern of discriminatory policing by the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), city officials are taking immediate action to improve transparency and accountability.
Mayor Craig Greenberg announced Tuesday a "significant" agreement between LMPD and the Louisville Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
The agreement, outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding between the two agencies, does two things to aid investigations by the OIG on behalf of the Civilian Review and Accountability Board.
It first requires officers to attend witness interviews requested by the OIG. The interviews will be about administrative actions, or policies, not criminal matters.
The office will in turn ensure the interview complies with state law and affords due process to the officers.
"It makes us a more efficient operation. And it allows us to go to the public and say we are getting this information direct from the source," Inspector General Edward Harness said.
Greenberg said the previous lack of clarity "impeded officer cooperation and participation" in these interviews.
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"If LMPD is kept under a microscope, as it should be, because the way you earn trust is by being consistent. A true apology is changed behavior," VOCAL-KY Director Shameka Parrish-Wright said.
She said the newly signed agreement between LMPD and the OIG is what's needed after the DOJ report.
"They earned it because they didn't do it right. I think they've never had this kind of oversight before," Parrish-Wright said.
The agreement also allows the Inspector General's office to receive direct access to police body camera footage related to incidents under investigation.
"This direct access will allow the OIG to investigate complaints made by community members and is also intended to address concerns about any delay or manipulation of footage," the mayor said.
LMPD's Interim Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel said the department's officers are looking to rebuild trust with the community and this is one step toward that.
"We are absolutely committed to doing what needs to be done to achieve this goal," she said. "This is a new day."
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"I fully know where I stand today, that my officers are wanting to do what is best for the department and for the community. So I'm gonna put myself out here and say, I've got faith in them."
Greenberg said this agreement is further pushing the city into a new era of transparency and accountability in Louisville.
"We are taking action," he said. "We are not waiting."
The mayor said the agreement addresses one of the remedial measures suggested by the DOJ -- Remedial Measure 31 -- which seeks to "improve civilian oversight."
Urban League President Dr. Kish Cumi Price said this is a step toward what should be a much larger plan.
One step that she and others discussed Monday is restructuring LMPD's contract.
"There's not a lot of involvement in terms of advice, and receiving that advicen, and adhering to those recommendations. And so to be able to do that, that's the piece that we need," Cumi Price said.
What is the Office of the Inspector General?
Both the OIG and Civilian Review and Accountability Board were established in 2020 to improve the transparency and oversight of LMPD.
The OIG is an independent agency that investigates complaints against and reviews the practices and policies of LMPD, according to a press release.
Last October, Harness had expressed "obstacles" in obtaining information from the police department for investigations. He said this new agreement is a significant step forward.
"With this agreement, the OIG can now move forward and complete its duty-authorized investigations," he said.
Under this agreement, Harness said once Kentucky State Police are done investigating a police shooting, files will be turned over to his office for review.
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