Reimagining Public Safety
In response to the Breonna Taylor case and calls for racial justice and equity, the Fischer Administration worked with community stakeholders to take the following actions:
STRONG, INDEPENDENT CIVILIAN POLICE REVIEW: Signed into law the new independent Civilian Review and Accountability Board and Office of Inspector General to give an additional layer of review to LMPD disciplinary matters, with a commitment to push for a state law change to give them subpoena power.
NO-KNOCK WARRANTS BANNED: Mayor suspended no-knock warrants, then signed Breonna’s Law to formally ban their use
BODY CAMERAS REQUIRED: Mayor signed Breonna’s Law, requiring body camera usage in execution of all search warrants
TEAR GAS POLICY CHANGED: LMPD policy changed to require Chief or designee to sign off on use of tear gas
DUTY TO INTERVENE POLICY CHANGED: LMPD policy changed regarding an officer’s duty to intervene in the event he or she sees a fellow officer using excessive force
HOUSING CREDIT PROGRAM: Metro has established a housing credit program to incentivize officers to live within a Qualified Census Tract as their primary residence. The initiative provides officers with a pathway to home ownership and improves community connections.
RETAIN SOCIAL WORKERS: Metro commits to involving the assistance of social workers, mental health professionals, and other non-law enforcement personnel on dispatched runs warranting their expertise. Metro is researching best practices in other cities to create an effective program.
COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERING: Balanced with appropriate staffing and COVID precautions, Metro will encourage LMPD officers to volunteer 2 hours a pay period during their regular work shift, at an organization in the community they serve.
SEARCH WARRANT REFORMS: LMPD has amended its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) 8.1 on search warrants to require a commanding officer to review and approve all search warrants[ASH1] and risk matrixes before an officer seeks judicial approval for a search warrant. SOP 8.1 has also been updated concerning the simultaneous execution of search warrants at multiple locations. The commanding officer of the unit initiating the warrants will act as the overall Incident Commander with a separate on-scene Commanding Officer at each warrant location[ASH2] . In addition, SOP 8.1 has been updated to require the presence of EMS units and/or paramedics for forced entry search warrants
CURRENCY SEIZURE REFORMS: LMPD has modified SOP 11.3 with additional protocols for money seized as evidence. The additional policy expressly states that officers must have their body cameras activated for the entire seizure process, which includes counting, placing and sealing the currency into the currency evidence bag before its transport to the property room
IAPRO: Metro will implement the early intervention system of IAPro that tracks all use of force incidents, citizen complaints, internal investigations, and other key factors. Metro is committed to identifying any police officer in need of additional assistance or training. As part of its top-to-bottom review, Hillard Heintze evaluated the LMPD’s early intervention system and recommended improvements. Metro also plans for the early intervention system to be monitored through the Office of Inspector General once this office is established
DRUG TESTING: All officers are subject to random testing. In its 2021 negotiations with the FOP, Metro is pursuing an expansion to ensure all officers are randomly tested at least once a year
PERSONNEL FILES: In its 2021 negotiations, Metro is pursuing to expand on the records it may maintain in police officers’ personnel files
PSU INVESTIGATIONS: Metro has updated its PSU investigative process in cases when a police officer separates from LMPD before the completion of his or her investigation. The police officer’s personnel file now includes a closing letter that states the Chief’s findings based on the evidence that exists in the file at the time of the separation from LMPD, if sufficient evidence exists to make such a determination, or a statement that insufficient evidence exists to make a finding. If the nature of the complaint is significant enough to have reasonably resulted in the suspension of a police officer, the PSU will continue gathering evidence to evaluate if additional officers or problems exist that require the PSU investigation to continue
OFFICER PAY: Mayor Fischer pursued, and Metro Council approved, an increase in officer pay to make LMPD more competitive with surrounding jurisdictions. Metro is also advocating for new laws, policies and state funding streams to promote mental wellness among officers, including making it a crime to attempt to blind an officer with a “laser light device” and criminalizing the practice of “doxing” a public official.
RACIAL EQUITY STEPS
In addition to steps to reimagine public safety, Mayor Fischer issued an executive order in December declaring racism as a public health crisis to acknowledge and address the societal, physical and mental health impacts on Black residents and all Louisvillians. These efforts were taken in light of the tragic death of Breonna Taylor and recognizing the imperative need to address the impacts of racism and dismantle systemic racism.
The Mayor is also pursuing a robust state legislative agenda that includes changes to promote transparency and accountability in police-involved disciplinary matters, equity initiatives, bail reform and voting rights
Many of these steps will take budget approval from the Metro Council. This plan, which includes several strategies that can be accomplished in Mayor Fischer’s remaining two years in office but many that will require additional time to complete, will be monitored and include community input in internal and external programmatic and policy work.