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Ex-chief complained of ‘cultural deficiencies’ at LMPD in resignation letter

Interim Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel stands at a podium with Mayor-elect Craig Greenberg behind her
Roberto Roldan
Mayor Craig Greenberg tapped Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel as interim police chief in late 2022 before taking office. She became permanent chief the next July, and resigned at his request less than a year later.

Louisville officials released former Louisville Metro Police Chief Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel’s resignation letter Tuesday.

In the letter dated June 25, Jackie Gwinn-Villaroel described division between the police department and the mayor’s administration, media and residents. She said that resulted in “toxicity,” according to the letter.

Gwinn-Villaroel stepped down last week as the Louisville Metro Police Department’s leader while under suspension and investigation due to accusations she mishandled a workplace sexual harassment allegation this spring. She was the department’s fifth chief since 2020, when Mayor Greg Fischer fired longtime Chief Steve Conrad for his actions during mass protests following the police killing of Breonna Taylor.

She wrote, in a letter published online by WLKY, that “longstanding cultural deficiencies permeated the agency” and blamed that on “certain members of leadership,” though she did not name them. She also described a culture of “professional and ethical apathy.”

Interim chief Paul Humphrey acknowledged the need to change LMPD’s culture at a press conference last week, where he and Mayor Craig Greenberg announced updates to the department’s harassment policy.

“We are dedicated to creating a culture of respect, where every individual feels both valued and safe to do their job,” Humphrey said in his first public comments after Gwinn-Villaroel’s departure.

Last month, several allegations of sexual misconduct by LMPD employees against colleagues became public. The three people bringing the accusations are women.

LMPD is also under pressure to reform from federal officials, as the city is negotiating a consent decree with the United States Department of Justice.

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

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