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Complaints Against Louisville Metro Police Can Now Be Filed Online

People can now electronically initiate the process of filing a formal complaint against Metro Police.

Louisville Metro Police announced the new method on Tuesday in a news release.

The department's Professional Standards Unit investigates internal and community allegations of violations of department rules by Metro police officers. The completion of the online form "does not ensure the opening of a formal investigation," according to the news release.

Carolyn Miller-Cooper, executive director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, said this doesn't mean people who have a complaint about an officer can just send an email to initiate the official process.

"They still have to submit a sworn affidavit," she said, which means the complaint must still be notarized and returned to the police department.

But Miller-Cooper said the option to go online will make it easier to prompt the complaint process.

Residents who choose to file a complaint electronically will get instructions regarding how to print, sign, initial and notarize the forms, according to the police department's release.

People who file complaints will also be given the option of requesting assistance from the city's Human Relations Commission's citizen advocate.

Miller-Cooper said it's especially convenient for people visiting Louisville.

"They can go online, download the form, fill it out, sign it, get it notarized and send it in without having to come back to Louisville," she said.

Maj. Don Burbrink, who heads the Professional Standards Unit, said the new way to file a complaint will give the department a "birds eye" view of how the department's officers are interacting with the community. And he said once a person fills out a form online and prints it off, he get's a copy, regardless of if it's submitted or not.

This process could also make people feel more comfortable about filing a complaint against the police department, she said.

In years past, people needed to physically go in to a police department office — either alone or with the city's citizen advocate — to file a complaint.

Miller-Cooper said that can be intimidating.

She said she's confident people will continue to rely on the citizen advocate for help navigating the process of filing a complaint against the police department.

Miller-Cooper said she wasn't sure if the new form will lead to an increase in the number of complaints against police.

The number of community-initiated complaints dropped dramatically from 2010 to 2014, according to LMPD data. Ten complaints have been initiated by citizens in the first half of 2015.

Jacob Ryan is the managing editor of the Kentucky Center for Investigative reporting. He's an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.

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