Louisville Metro Police officer outside EMW Women's Surgical Center

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- New records reveal why the Louisville Metro Police Department failed to discipline the officer seen protesting in uniform outside an abortion clinic.

There's state law and LMPD policy forbidding an officer from participating in political demonstrations while in uniform. But according to a letter obtained from Chief Erika Shields, the rules have been inconsistently enforced.

Shields wrote there is "no question" Officer Matthew Schrenger participated in a protest while in uniform.

Surveillance video from the clinic showed Schrenger in a marked police cruiser on the morning of Feb. 20, 2021, parked outside the EMW Surgical Center in downtown Louisville. He marched outside of the clinic for approximately 45 minutes, at one point holding a sign that read "pray to end abortion."

Shields said  Schrenger tried to cover up his uniform with his coat, so the department cleared him of the violations and told him to comply with the rules moving forward.

Schrenger's attorney, Matt Heffron, with the Thomas More Society, told WDRB News earlier this week that he was "quietly praying the rosary" in front of the abortion clinic with his dad that morning before his shift began.

Schrenger, an LMPD officer of 13 years, had been on "indefinite" administrative leave, but he is back on the job.

After the Schrenger investigation LMPD updated its policy to also ban religious demonstrations while in uniform. 

WDRB News asked the police department whether it would be consistently enforcing the updated policy in the future but a spokesperson did not respond.

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