LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Louisville Metro Police Department has reduced the amount of probationary training for new officers before they are released on their own.
After a cadet graduates from the academy, he or she must complete a training phase with a veteran officer. According to a LMPD spokesperson, a probationary officer had to ride along with a training officer for 24 weeks to learn the ropes. If the new officer completed this phase successfully, then he or she would be released to patrol alone. The officer is still on a probation period for the first year on the department.
Now, according to LMPD, the 24 weeks of required training has been cut down to 16. A spokesperson said the number of weeks has fluctuated and varied over the years, depending on curriculum changes and national recommendations.
Several Metro Council members, including Jessica Green, have voiced concerns over the change.
“My gut reaction is that this is so unfortunate,” said Green, who represents District 1 on Metro Council. “It is a disservice to the new officers of LMPD, and it’s also a disservice to the citizens of Louisville Metro.”
Green said she is shocked that LMPD leaders are trying to justify the decision to cut down on valuable training time.
“We owe it to these men and women, these brave men and women, to make sure that they are adequately equipped with all the knowledge and all the capabilities before we just throw them out there," she said.
Green said it could hurt the new officers and their families to send them out on their own with less training. She also believes it is not fair to the Louisville community, especially with the current homicide and violent crime rates.
Green expects Metro Council members will try to schedule a time to question LMPD leaders about why the change was made.
LMPD leaders are still working out the details of how new officers will spend the 16 weeks of training. It could be split between multiple divisions and multiple training officers, or it could be condensed to a single division and one consistent training officer.
Since these changes are still being finalized, it will not affect the class that just recently graduated. However, the new requirements could be in place by the time the next academy graduates.
The River City FOP released a statement Friday evening:
“The FOP was notified of this change just prior to its implementation but was not included in initial discussions.
While we recognize the potential need for LMPD to adapt and change its training requirements, a significant change such as this needs to be carefully considered as to how it may affect our officers’ safety and preparedness.
We understand this change is occurring on a trial basis and have been assured the FOP will be given the opportunity to participate in the new program’s evaluation.”
Ofc. Nicolai Jilek
President, River City FOP Lodge 614
Clarification: An earlier version of this story reported that officer training was being cut from 26 to 16 weeks, according to information from LMPD. A police spokesman has clarified that training was 24 weeks, not 26. The story has been updated to reflect the new information.
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