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Louisville Police Raises, Reforms Detailed In Newly Released Union Contract

Two weeks after declaring they had reached a deal, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and the city’s police union released the details of the tentative collective bargaining agreement late Thursday night.

The new contract includes what officials say is the “highest single-year wage increase” for sworn officers “in [Louisville Metro Police Department] history.” Under the agreement, rank-and-file officers will get a nine percent raise this year and a three percent raise next year.

Lieutenants, who negotiate a separate contract, will get an eight percent raise. The agreement also includes a set of new reforms, such as making previous findings of bias, untruthfulness and excessive use of force part of an officer’s permanent record.

In a statement last month, Fischer said the goal was to make it easier for LMPD to attract and retain officers while also heeding demands from the community for increased accountability after the killing of Breonna Taylor.

“My hope is that the men and women of LMPD see this as an investment in them, that those considering law enforcement see it as an invitation to a fulfilling career, and that our residents see it as evidence of our commitment to bring major reformative changes to address accountability and community trust,” he said.

Other reforms in the tentative collective bargaining agreement include:

  • All officers must submit to drug and alcohol testing after a critical incident, like a shooting or serious car accident. If an officer refuses, they can be fired.
  • LMPD must conduct at least 100 random drug tests of employees each month.
  • Investigators assigned to the Special Investigations Department, which conducts investigations of officer-involved shootings and citizen complaints, will be required to do 40 hours of training on “internal affairs policy, practice and legal considerations.”
  • When disciplining an officer, Metro Government and the police chief can consider past “reprimands, suspensions or terminations involving excessive use of force, sexual misconduct, bias, criminal activity, and truthfulness warrant permanency.”
  • The union will recognize the authority of the new Citizens Review and Accountability Board, created by Metro Council last year.

In an effort to build community relations, officers will now be allowed to volunteer with community groups while on the clock. They’ll be paid for the time they volunteer up to two hours each pay period. The contract also creates an incentive program for officers to buy a home in Louisville’s low-income neighborhoods. The program will provide $5,000 in down payment assistance.

Louisville Metro officials have been negotiating with the police union, River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614, since January. The existing contracts for officers and sergeants expired in June, and the contract for lieutenants expired in 2018.

Fischer and Ryan Nichols, president of River City FOP, first announced they had reached a tentative deal on August 20, saying the full contract would be released “when delivered to union members within the next few days.”

Some members of the Louisville Metro Council criticized the Fischer administration for the delay at a Labor Committee meeting on Tuesday. 

Council President David James asked repeatedly for an explanation on why the legislative branch had not seen the contract, saying it hinders their ability to provide oversight.

“The mayor says the proposal will be shared with the public when it’s delivered to the union,” James said Tuesday. “So, it’s been delivered to the union, but it has not been shared with the council yet, or the public.”

In a statement attached to the tentative contract, city officials said it was being shared with the public only after the union “completed its last information session with its members” Thursday night.

The union members will still need to vote on the collective bargaining agreement. That vote could take place as early as Monday. The agreement will then be forwarded to Metro Council for final approval.

Roberto Roldan is the City Politics and Government Reporter for WFPL. Email Roberto at rroldan@lpm.org.