Citizens Commission Protocols

    The Citizens Commission on Police Accountability, hereafter referred to as the Commission, was created by Ordinance No. 10, Series 2003 (55k pdf) for Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government, and was established to review police investigations in all police shooting cases and incidents involving loss of life due to police action.

    The Commission shall consist of a Chair and ten members appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Metro Council. The Chair and the members of the Commission shall be residents of Louisville Metro. The membership of the Commission shall reflect the diversity of Louisville Metro. The terms of the Chair and the members shall be for four years or until their successors are appointed and qualified, except that of the members first appointed, five members shall be appointed for two-year terms.

    The Commission has developed the following protocol and guidelines. The Commission may establish more or amend existing protocols as needed, and in accordance with the intent and purpose of the establishing ordinance.

Protocols & Guidelines:

1. Official start-up date for the Commission is March 27, 2003.

2. The mailing address for the Commission is: Citizens Commission on Police Accountability, c/o Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission, 514 W. Liberty, Suite 106, Louisville, KY 40202. All correspondence to the Commission will be stamped with postmark date and Commission Chair will be contacted. Staff support to the Commission will be provided by the Louisville Metro Criminal Justice Commission (hereafter referred to as staff).

3. The scope of the Commission's review is the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) investigative process in police shooting cases and incidents involving loss of life due to police action. The disposition of the investigation or disciplinary action (if any) does not fall within the Commission’s scope. The Commission shall advise on matters relating to the quality and adequacy of investigations. Quality and adequacy includes addressing thoroughness and completeness. The Commission may make recommendations for changes relating to police policies, training and procedures.

4. Materials other than the investigative report and information specifically requested by the Commission should not be considered during the review process. Additional information can be obtained if the Commission members vote that it will be necessary to adequately review the case. In the event that a Commission member receives information either inadvertently or voluntarily from an outside source, they should bring the information to the Commission for discussion.

5. At the request of the Commission, police investigators directly involved in the case at issue will be requested to answer questions or present additional information. The Commission may invite representatives of governmental agencies or departments with information deemed relevant to present information to the Commission. Additionally, the Commission may invite other individuals, including witnesses to appear before the commission to answer questions relating to the case. Whenever an individual Commission member is approached by the public (citizens or entity representative) to address the Commission, the member shall refer that person to the Commission Chair.

6. At the conclusion of the police investigation and all criminal legal processes, LMPD will provide staff with a minimum of 14 copies of the criminal investigative file. Staff will make one copy of such file available to each Commission member.

7. Commission members will be responsible for reviewing the investigative file prior to the first meeting on any case. Commission members shall not seek to interview or obtain information from anyone outside the official proceedings of Commission activities -- this includes any complainants, witnesses, or individual officers who are part of the case under review, or citizens within the community.

8. The Commission will meet on an ‘as needed’ basis to discuss qualifying case(s) for no longer than four (4) hours at any one session unless the members vote to extend the meeting. At each meeting, the Chair will present a brief overview of the case to be reviewed.

9. A vote of six (6) Commission members present will determine the final finding(s) for the case under review. A quorum must exist before the Commission can vote on a finding. A quorum, once declared at the beginning of the meeting by the Chair, shall exist until the meeting is adjourned. A quorum must consist of seven (7) members.

10. The Commission will make every effort to review, discuss, and make final finding(s) sixty (60) days from the receipt date of any case.

11. Meetings will be held in public facilities at times convenient to Commission members and the public.

12. Upon completion of its review, the Commission will make one of the following findings: “Commission review complete – No Recommendations noted” or “Recommendations Noted.”  If the Commission finds “Commission Review complete – No Recommendations noted,” the Commission has determined that no recommendations are required pertaining to the quality and adequacy of the police investigation. This includes thoroughness and completeness of the investigation. Furthermore, no recommendations are required for changes in existing police policy, training and procedures. If the Commission finds an investigation as “Recommendations Noted,” the Commission has determined that recommendations are required pertaining to the quality and adequacy of the police investigation. Furthermore, recommendations are required for changes in existing police policy, training or procedures. The Commission will not make recommendations, observations, or conclusions regarding specific disciplinary action, such being within the purview of the Chief, LMPD. If a majority decision can not be made by the Commission, the Commission may report the decision could not be reached on a majority vote.

13. Once the Commission has made a finding of any type the Commission Chair will send a notification letter to the Mayor and to the Chief, LMPD on behalf of the Commission. Such letter shall state dominant opinions (pros and cons) during deliberations. The Commission shall meet to review any response from the Mayor and/or Chief of Police and provide a reply if necessary.

14. It is the responsibility of each member of the Citizens Commission on Police Accountability to disclose any potential conflict of interest or circumstance that may create an appearance of impropriety or bias as to himself or herself in regards to reviewing a particular case. After discussion, if the remaining Commission members view the conflict of interest as having the potential to affect the Commission's credibility, the member will withdraw from hearing the case.

15. All open records requests, information requests, press inquiries, interview requests and questions posed concerning the Commission or its actions must be directed to the Commission Chair for disposition.

16. All Commission members will speak through the chair of the Commission. Commission members will not make individuals statements to the media.

17. If any provision contained in this protocol is in conflict with Ordinance No. 10 Series 2003 (copy attached), the Ordinance will prevail over that provision.