Louisville Metro Police are changing their policies for traffic stops.
Police Chief Steve Conrad gave an overview of the new policies in a video released Thursday. He said the changes are meant to ensure officers don’t interact with bias and include:
- Adding language to emphasis that nervousness or being in a high crime area are not by themselves justification for certain actions;
- New guidelines for when cops can handcuff people who are not under arrest, when they can remove them from a vehicle and when to tell suspects to sit on the ground during traffic stops;
- New procedures on how officers document their interactions.
In the video, Conrad said conversations about police traffic stops are happening across the nation, and these policy changes should balance community concerns and police work.
“We need to have this conversation because through it, we will continue to grow and improve,” Conrad said. “My belief is these changes will enhance officer safety, reinforce our department values, give you more guidance for doing your jobs and improve trust with those in our community who may question what we do.”
The changes follow backlash to video of a black teen, Tae-Ahn Lea, being stopped and handcuffed in the Park Duvalle neighborhood. The video went viral, prompting Metro Council members to question LMPD traffic stops and whether they actually deter crime.
In an interview last month on WFPL’s In Conversation, Metro Councilwoman Jessica Green said police should review their policies in order to mend the agency’s relationship with the community.
“For good or for bad, what is running through a lot of black men’s head is, ‘Am I going to get shot by this police officer?’” Green said. “We are not trying to provide a haven for drug traffickers or for violent offenders, but what we do expect is equal application of the law.”
Conrad said officers would be trained by the end of July and the policies would take effect August 1. Louisville police will hold a press conference Friday at 10 a.m. to detail the policy changes.