Louisville Metro Police Department

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Louisville Metro Police Department
Common name Metro Police
Abbreviation LMPD
Louisville Metro Police.jpg
Patch of the Louisville Metro Police Department
KY - Louisville Metro Police Badge.png
Badge of the Louisville Metro Police Department
Agency overview
Formed 2003
Preceding agency Louisville Division of Police
Jefferson County Police Department
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* City and County of Louisville-Jefferson Co Metro in the commonwealth of Kentucky, USA
Map of Kentucky highlighting Jefferson County.svg
Map of Louisville Metro Police Department's jurisdiction.
Size 399 square miles (1,030 km2)
Population 709,264
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Louisville, Kentucky
Agency executive Steve Conrad, Chief of Police
Louisville Metro Police
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) began operations on January 6, 2003, as part of the creation of the consolidated city-county government in Louisville, Kentucky. It was formed by the merger of the Jefferson County Police Department and the Louisville Division of Police. The Louisville Metro Police Department is headed by Chief Steve Conrad. LMPD divides Jefferson County into eight patrol divisions and operates a number of special investigative and support units. In popular culture, the LMPD was the lead agency investigating a serial killer in an episode of Criminal Minds (Season 5, Ep. 2, "Haunted").

Organizational structure

The chief of police is appointed by the Mayor of Louisville Metro. Chief Conrad's command staff consists of two deputy chiefs (Patrol Bureau commander and a chief of staff), two assistant chiefs (Administrative Bureau and Support Bureau), fourteen majors (Special Operations Commander, Special Investigations Division Commander, Major Crimes Division Commander, Narcotics/Intelligence Division Commander, Administrative Services Division Commander, Training Division Commander and eight Patrol Division Commanders) and a civilian attorney serving as the legal advisor.

The Patrol Bureau Commander is responsible for the department's eight patrol divisions and the VIPER Unit. Patrol Bureau also houses the Downtown Area Patrol, a sub-command of the First Division responsible for patrolling Downtown Louisville during select times. VIPER was established after a high-profile incident in the city.

The chief of staff oversees the Open Records Coordinator's Office, Media and Public Relations, Administrative Bureau, Support Bureau, and the Special Investigations Division.

The Administrative Bureau controls human resources, Training Division, Administrative Services, and the Administrative Services Division, which encompasses Records Management, the Vehicle Impoundment Lot, the Property Room, and Planning and Technology.

The Support Bureau provides oversight for the Narcotics/Intelligence Division, which comprises the Support Unit, Narcotics Street Enforcement Unit, Major Case Investigation Unit, Violent Crime Interdiction Unit, and the Administration Sergeant; the Major Crimes Division, which encompasses the Crimes Against Children, Homicide, Robbery, Special Victims & Financial Crime, and Forensic Investigations Units; and the Special Operations Division, under which is Special Events, Air Patrol/Special Teams Coordinator, Canine Unit, Traffic Unit, and Community Relations.

The Special Investigations Unit oversees the Public Integrity and Professional Standards units. These are equivalent to an internal affairs unit.

Public safety and crime

A Louisville Metro Police cruiser

In a 2005 survey, Morgan Quitno ranked Louisville as the seventh safest large city in the United States.[1] The 2006 edition of the survey ranked Louisville eighth.[2]

In 2004, Louisville recorded 70 murders. The numbers for 2005 ranged from 55 to 59 (FBI says 55, LMPD says 59), which was down 16 percent from 2004.[3] In 2006, Louisville-Jefferson County recorded 50 murders, which was significantly lower than previous years. In 2008, Louisville recorded 79 murders.[4]

The Louisville Metro Area's overall violent crime rate was 412.6 per 100,000 residents in 2005.[5] The Elizabethtown, Kentucky Metro Area, which is part of Louisville's Combined Statistical Area, was the 17th safest Metro in the U.S.[6] Kentucky has the 5th lowest violent crime rate out of the 50 states.[7]

Louisville has recently been featured on the television show First 48. The show follows LMPD's homicide unit while they try to solve murders.

Rank structure and insignia

The rank structure of LMPD is as follows:

Title Insignia
Chief of Police
US-O7 insignia.svg
Deputy Chief
US-O6 insignia.svg
Assistant Chief
US-O5 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
LASD Sergeant.jpg
Police Officer

Although it is not currently used, the rank of captain remains in the department standard operating procedures.


While the Louisville Metro Police Department began in 2003, its origins lie in two police departments dating back to the 1800s, the Jefferson County Police Department (JCPD) and the Louisville Division of Police (LPD).

Louisville Police Department

The Louisville Police Department, also known as the Louisville Division of Police, came into existence in 1806 with the appointment of five "watchmen" by the town's trustees. In 1821, a captain of the watch was appointed, directly responsible for crime prevention and the apprehension of criminals. The first Sergeant was hired in that year, whose primary duty was to see that the trustees' wishes were carried out.

In 1830, after the city government switched to a mayor-council arrangement, the position of captain was replaced by an elected "Marshall." In 1851, the mayor was put directly over the police. In 1856, a mayor-appointed office of Chief of Police was created, a position that earned $2,000 a year. The next year, the police force was reorganized in the image of modern police departments in the East, with the watchmen being called "policemen."

Following the Civil War, the Kentucky General Assembly passed an act to reorganize the department. The police department was given county-wide jurisdiction. Unfortunately, there was much corruption, as the police department was appointed by the city council. Thus the makeup of the police department depended heavily on the political affiliations of the council members.

Divisions and districting came into use shortly thereafter, with two divisions and several districts (the number depended on the time of day) being established.

In 1891, the department first purchased bicycles to serve with mounted police. The practice of using bicycles would wane throughout the 20th century, but would see a revival in 1993 as they served as an effective alternative to motor vehicles. Three Cadillacs were purchased in November 1908 to address the problem of lawbreakers making getaways in the "horseless carriages." In 1932, the Louisville Police Department began using radios for dispatching units, only the fifth department in the nation to dispatch cars in this manner. Motorcycles were introduced shortly after the cars, but were discontinued in 1984 due to high maintenance costs.

Politics were part of the police department until 1929, when the state's Civil Service act prohibited discrimination on the basis of politics or religion. A Civil Service Board was established, consisting of three members of each political party with the mayor serving as a tiebreaker.

On May 20, 1921, Alice Dunlop became the first female officer in the Louisville Police Department, with Bertha Whedbee becoming the first African American to be a police officer in Louisville. While technically equal with their male counterparts, females were only employed in limited capacities. In 1938, the four policewomen of the Louisville Police Department were dismissed because it was thought that there were no duties which required a woman. A policewoman would next be appointed in 1943, with nine more being appointed in as many years. In 1969, Urania "Kitty" Laun became the department's first sergeant and later appointed lieutenant and the first female district commander.

Decentralization of the department began in 1974. Traffic and detective bureaus remained in the Headquarters Building at Seventh and Jefferson, while other units were placed at various districts.

In 1982, the Louisville Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance allowing the mayor to remove the chief of police for specific reasons. The law was later amended to provide the mayor with the ability to both appoint and remove the chief, following the demotion of Chief Richard Dotson by Mayor Jerry Abramson in 1990.

On March 2, 2002 Louisville Mayor David L. Armstrong fired Police Chief Gene Sherrard due to a banquet honoring officers for exceptional valor. Two officers being honored for facing immediate danger were controversial as to what constituted immediate danger to these officers. The suspect in the case of these two officers, Desmond Rudolph, had left the house the officers went to through the back door and went to a stolen vehicle. Rudolph, who was unarmed, attempted to drive off, but there are conflicting statements as to if the car was operable or not. The view of the policemen involved was that the car was operable and, believing they may be struck by the vehicle, constituted a danger to their lives, while the opposing view is that the policemen did not follow proper police procedure by failing to secure the rear exit and that the car was inoperable and did not pose any danger to the officers. Rudolph was shot by the two officers 22 times and Rudolph died from his wounds. After the firing of the chief of police, many Louisville policemen marched in front of Louisville City Hall to protest the firing of Sherrard and demanded the resignation of Mayor Armstrong.[8][9][unreliable source?]

Jefferson County Police Department

The Jefferson County Police Department was established in February 1868. In 1902, police officers providing their own horses were compensated an extra $10 each month. Two years later, this practice ceased with a wage increase from $40 to $60 monthly for officers. The first chief of police to be granted use of a county car was Harry Kendall in 1918. Following a letter from Chief Ambrose Hagerman noting that there were no river deaths in 1932 due to the introduction of rowboats, the county approved the purchase of a motor boat.

Jefferson County's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team was formed in 1971. In 1981, JCPD received authorization from the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council to conduct annual in-service training. In 1999, it became certified to conduct its own police academy. At the time of merger, JCPD was divided into four patrol districts: Adam, Baker, Charlie and David.


During the 1990s, certain specialized elements of the county and city police departments began joint operations. Most notable were the photo and fingerprint labs, the narcotics bureaus and the crimes against children departments. The purpose of this merger was to provide more efficient and cost-effective service.

JCPD and LPD ceased to exist as separate entities on January 6, 2003, when the Louisville Metro Police Department became effective as part of the city-county merger.


  • While the Louisville riots of 1968 had many causes (most directly, the spread of false rumors and bottles being thrown into the crowd) the crowd where the riot began had gathered to protest the possible reinstatement of a white officer who had been suspended for beating a black man some weeks earlier. As the crowd became unruly, police attempts to disperse it were ineffective, but this was a common problem police departments of the day had.[citation needed]
  • In 1982, Michael VonAllmen was arrested and charged with rape and related crimes. After serving 11 in prison for the crime, he was released on parole. In 2010, courts overruled the conviction. In 2011, VanAllman sued the police department over the case, claiming misconduct had led to his false conviction.[10][11]
  • One of the first and most widely covered controversies faced by the post-merger department was the shooting of Michael Newby on January 3, 2004 in the predominantly black Shawnee neighborhood. Newby, a 19-year-old black male in possession of drugs and a firearm, was shot by McKenzie Mattingly, a white police officer, in what authorities described as an undercover drug deal gone bad. After they struggled and Newby went for Mattingly's gun, Mattingly fired four times, hitting Newby three times in the back, killing him.[12] An internal police investigation found that Mattingly did not face an "immediate threat", although Newby did have a .45-caliber gun in his waistband.[13] Mattingly was fired from the department and charged criminally, but acquitted of all charges in September 2004. The nature of the incident and trial sparked a number of protests and demonstrations by members of the community.[14] The city eventually paid $250,000 to Newby's mother to settle a lawsuit.[15]
  • On November 6, 2006, the President of the LMPD officers' Fraternal Order of Police Lodge criticized the mayor of Louisville[who?] in a 30-second video for his not providing adequate resources to LMPD. In the video, he also endorsed Mayor Abramson's Republican opponent in the 2006 mayoral election. The video implied that the mayor was causing officers to use an outdated and ineffective radio communications system and that he had not hired enough police officers to ensure public safety.[16]
  • In August, 2011, Officer Jerry Lee Coulter pled guilty to bankruptcy fraud. He had altered official documents to indicate he could borrow a larger amount than authorized by the court.[17]
  • In September 2011, the department launched an investigation when a video clip posted on YouTube showed Officer James W. Conley beating a man with a flashlight.[18] In March 2012, a local grand jury refused to indict Officer Conley.[19]
  • On 17 December 2011, Officer Charles Wheeler saw his girlfriend sit with another man at a local club. He ordered the other man to move and when he refused Wheeler began to beat him.[20][21] In October 2012, he was charged with fourth-degree assault.[22]
  • In early September 2012, narcotics Detective Chauncey Carthan got into an altercation at the corner of 24th and Chestnut Streets with an unarmed man. Carthan shot the man in the leg when he refused to get out of his car. Carthan was off duty and under the influence of alcohol at the time of the shooting.[23][24] Carthan was charged with driving under the influence, wanton endangerment, and official misconduct. On January 15, 2015, Carthan was acquitted on charges of wanton endangerment, but found guilty of driving under the influence; he was ordered to pay a $500 fine. The official misconduct charge was dismissed prior to trial.[25]
  • In March 2014, a mob of teenagers began a series of attacks in downtown Louisville. Among twenty-plus incidents, a man was knocked down and beaten near the Big Four Bridge, and a large group ransacked a convenience store on South First Street. Although LMPD had deployed extra officers due to the potential for trouble after the death of a juvenile stabbed on a TARC bus several days earlier, the officers were based along West Broadway, away from where the mob attack took place. In the days following the mob incident, residents criticized LMPD for their response. The Downtown Area Patrol was established as a result of the attack and outcry, and led the Louisville and Jeffersonville, Indiana police departments to develop strategies to combat issues at the Big Four Bridge, which connects the two cities via a walking path. The man who stabbed the juvenile was cleared of wrongdoing on self-defense grounds.[29]

Patrol and interdepartmental issues

Before the merger of the city and county police departments, there were six "city" districts (patrolled by LPD) and four "county" districts (patrolled by JCPD). The city districts were identified numerically, while the county districts were labeled using a phonetic alphabet: Adam, Baker, Charlie, David. On October 10, 2004, Jefferson County was divided into eight patrol divisions, each headed by an officer holding the rank of Major. The first, second, fourth and fifth divisions roughly comprise the former jurisdiction of the city police department, while the third, sixth, seventh and eighth divisions make up the area formerly patrolled by the county police department. It is common for longtime police officers to refer to a division by the name that area held before merger (e.g., the old fourth district), just as they will sometimes refer to a police officer as being "county" or "city" if they served before merger.

Even after the city-county merger became effective in 2003, Louisville Metro Police did not become the sole law enforcement agency in the county. Other than the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO), the incorporated cities remaining intact after merger maintain their own police with jurisdiction within those cities. Most notable of these are the Jeffersontown, Shively and St. Matthews Police Departments. LMPD patrol units do not typically respond to calls for service inside these departments' jurisdictions, and vice versa. Certain LMPD divisions and specialized units provide assistance to these police agencies when necessary.


Louisville Metro Police communicates using radios on both VHF and UHF frequencies, a carryover from the communications systems of LPD and JCPD. A recent city-wide initiative in coordinated operations is MetroSafe, which has combined the radio dispatch capabilities of police, fire and EMS into one joint emergency management unit (Joint EMU). Additionally, MetroSafe has incorporated a Motorola MotoBridge into the system, facilitating communications between different agencies (such as Shively and Jeffersontown Police Departments) with different communications capabilities.

The radio alphabet in use in LMPD is the same one used by the American Radio Relay League, circa 1948, consisting mostly of first names (note: the ARRL currently endorses use of the NATO phonetic alphabet). The alphabet is as follows: Adam, Baker, Charlie, David, Edward, Frank, George, Henry, Ida, John, King, Lincoln, Mary, Nora, Ocean, Paul, Queen, Robert, Sam, Tom, Union, Victor, William, X-ray, Young, Zebra. Until recently, "10-codes" were in common use for radio communications (e.g., "10-23" to indicate arrival on location or "10-86" to indicate situation under control). However, with the National Incident Management System going into effect, encouraging the use of "clear text" to avoid possible miscommunication between agencies using a common radio frequency or working jointly on an incident, the use of 10-codes is being phased out. LMPD has officially ceased using 10-codes as of October 2007, following a SOP update, however the use of 10-codes by both officers and dispatchers remains common practice.[30]

Source of peace officer powers

K.R.S 95.019 Chief of police and police force to have common law and statutory powers of constables and sheriffs.

See also


  1. "America's Safest (and Most Dangerous) Cities." Morgan Quitno Press. November 21, 2005. Retrieved 2006-07-08.
  2. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  3. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  4. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  5. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  6. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  7. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  8. 'Excessive Force'
  9. Jackson to seek Justice probe of Louisville police
  10. Man sues former Louisville police officials over wrongful conviction, Courier-Journal, 1 June 2011
  11. Michael VonAllmen: Cleared of rape after nearly 30 years, by Donna Johnson, Examiner.com, 5 June 2010
  12. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  13. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  14. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  15. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.[dead link]
  16. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  17. LMPD officer pleads guilty to bankruptcy fraud charge, WHAS11.com, 15 August 2011
  18. Arrest report outlines details in LMPD incident posted on YouTube, WAVE3.com, 23 September 2011
  19. Grand jury declines to indict Louisville Metro police officer over alleged assault with a flashlight, by Jason Riley, Courier-Journal, 17 March 2012
  20. Man sues Louisville police over alleged assault, Associated Press, 21 December 2012
  21. LMPD officer charged with assault after attack at nightclub, WLKY.com 9 October 2012
  22. Louisville Metro Police officer facing assault charge after 2011 incident at Prime Lounge, by Joseph Lord, Louisville Courier-Journal, 8 October 2012
  23. Narcotics detective placed on administrative leave following West Louisville shooting, WHAS11.com, 5September 2012
  24. Louisville Officer Involved in Shooting may have been Intoxicated, by Tamara Evans, WDRB.com, 11 September 2012
  25. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  26. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  27. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  28. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  29. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  30. Louisville Metro Police Dept. Standard Operating Procedures 3.8.5


  • Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  • Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links