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Measure To Create New Civilian Oversight Board For Police Heads To Full Council

Metro Council Hearing by J. Tyler Franklin, Louisville Public Medi
Photo by J. Tyler Franklin

Metro Council will consider an ordinance to create a new civilian oversight board and office of inspector general at its next meeting on Thursday. The council’s public safety committee unanimously recommended the measure for approval during a special meeting Monday.

The ordinance is based on extensive research by a work group created after the police killing of Breonna Taylor in March. However, council member James Peden (R-23) introduced a number of amendments that some task force members said undermined the goal of independent oversight of the police department.

The original and amended versions of the ordinance are available to read here.

Peden addressed critics during Monday’s meetings, saying he is not against the ordinance. He introduced the amendments — which include allowing organizations that represent law enforcement to nominate oversight board members, and increasing the number of ride-along hours from 16 to 40 — last week.

Council member Paula McCraney (D-7), who was a key figure in the work group and in creating the ordinance, said Monday it was “great legislation” and she looked forward to it passing out of committee. Last week, she said she was “heated” over the committee’s failure to pass the ordinance and that she believed they did not want it to pass.

She introduced a number of community and group members to speak at the special meeting.

One of them, Louisville attorney Scott Dickens, said letting law enforcement agencies nominate members for the oversight board would not address citizens’ concerns that the police police themselves.

“I believe that particular proposed amendments would tend to reinforce that concern,” he said. “And it would cause serious damage to the legitimacy and the credibility of the independent review board in the eyes of many citizens.”

The full Metro Council will consider the ordinance at its next meeting on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.