Louisville is moving ahead with a new civilian review board to oversee the police department. Mayor Greg Fischer signed the measure into law Wednesday afternoon. He thanked council members and a large work group that designed the new review board this year.
Fischer first announced plans in May to create the review board and an office of inspector general along with it. That announcement came as national scrutiny over the police killing of Breonna Taylor intensified, and he proposed changes in response to the outcry.
Today, Fischer said the goal of the new board is to repair relationships between citizens and police.
“What we’re just trying to do, folks, is get higher and higher levels of police and community trust and legitimacy, and this is a really important step to making that happen, here today,” he said.
The new 11-member board will replace an existing civilian review board. Louisville has repeatedly created new oversight boards after police killings of Black people.
This time, however, local officials, lawmakers and advocates intend for the new board to have the power to issue subpoenas. That would require legislative change from Frankfort, for which Fischer has repeatedly appealed to state lawmakers.
The Metro Council passed the ordinance creating the new board and office of the inspector general last month with broad support, as council members agreed a stronger review board would help with public trust in the police department.
Paula McCraney (D-7) co-chaired the work group and was a leader in creating the legislation.
“We should be proud as a community that we have embraced such a cause that will help our community not only become a better community, but it will instill some more trust and accountability into our police department,” she said at Wednesday’s signing ceremony. “It will also assure our citizens that they can rest, knowing that there are another set of eyes that will be investigating the police department.”
Members of the review board will be appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. They will also accept nominations from groups including the Louisville Urban League and the ACLU of Kentucky.