It should come as no surprise, but the Louisville Metro Police Department is kind of the worst. A 150-page report commissioned by city officials in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death has found that the department is plagued with a multitude of problems and is widely distrusted by communities of color.
According to CNN the independent audit was conducted by the Chicago-based firm Hillard Heintze. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer commissioned the audit last summer following the widespread protests that happened after Taylor was shot and killed in her own home by LMPD officers executing a no-knock warrant in March. The report found the department has been plagued with low morale since the death of Taylor, and has had trouble recruiting and maintaining new staff. An internal survey conducted last summer found that 75 percent of the respondents would work at another agency if they had the chance.
Apparently they’ve never seen Hollywood Shuffle, as they should know there’s always work at the post office.
Tensions are still high between the LMPD and communities of color, with the audit attributing the lack of trust in the department “to generations of problematic relations.” According to the Courier Journal, the community believes that Black residents are disproportionately policed, and a look at the data more or less confirms that belief.
From the Courier Journal:
Racial data compiled by Hillard Heintze indicates that Black people are treated disproportionately in every policing category: electronic stop data, paper stop data, field contacts, arrests and citations.
Data and observations confirmed the perspectives shared by communities of color: LMPD disproportionately polices some groups, particularly Black residents, the report found.
Based on surveys and interviews, communities of color perceive the department’s use of force “unduly severe and without explanation, rationale or accountability.”
Black residents are far more likely to be arrested than white residents, according to the report, although they are no more likely to be subject to force during an arrest.
The report also found that there is little accountability in the LMPD, with the community believing the department’s internal affairs system is effectively broken. One anonymous woman told the interviewers that while she has wanted to report LMPD misconduct twice over the last 12 years, she “would never recommend it. There is no safe way to. Reporting to internal affairs is just a way to find out what you know and start a defense.”
Among other concerns raised by the report were a lack of diversity in the LMPD as a result of the department being perceived as unwelcoming to Black officers. The report also found that there isn’t much oversight when it comes to issuing warrants, with officers reporting that most warrants receive immediate approval without anyone looking over them to see if they’re necessary.
Essentially, the LMPD is shady as hell and in desperate need of an overhaul if it ever wishes to be seen as anything other than a limping failure. The report provided 102 recommendations for how the department should go about fixing the litany of issues it currently faces. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that while some of the findings “can be hard to take,” the report is a necessary tool towards reforming the LMPD.
“We have committed to reimagining public safety, and that requires an unflinching, comprehensive look at what LMPD is doing well, and what can be done better,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Thursday. “An independent audit like this is an extraordinarily valuable tool in making an organization better, and we plan to lean into the findings here — good and bad.”
Newly appointed LMPD chief Erika Shields has said that within the department “there’s a real appetite for change. We just need to execute on it.” Well, we’ll just have to wait and see how strong that appetite truly is.