Metro Louisville

Louisville will have a new civilian board to provide oversight of the police department, as well as a new office of inspector general to investigate complaints against police.

The measure passed 25 to 1 in a Thursday night Metro Council vote after the ordinance’s architect Paula McCraney (D-7) successfully amended the legislation to change some elements introduced last week that civil rights groups deemed a “poison pill.”

Marilyn Parker (R-18) was the single vote against the ordinance.

The final version, available to read here, rolls back the number of hours board members would be required to ride along with police from 40 to 24. It also removes entities with ties to law enforcement, such as the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, from those who can nominate board members. In their place, McCraney substituted the Louisville Bar Association and The Young Professionals Association of America.

“I believe a lot has been done to make this what we can all be proud of,” McCraney said of the effort and compromise that went into the final ordinance.

Other council members also praised the compromises made. Brandon Coan (D-8) said removing law enforcement groups from the list of nominating entities was a crucial change, though he said he felt the ride along requirement was still too burdensome.

“This is a civilian review board,” he said. “The whole purpose of this is so that the police are not policing themselves.”

The ACLU of Kentucky, which is one of the groups that will be able to nominate people for the board, celebrated the vote in tweets Thursday night.

The new civilian review board was among the proposed changes announced by Mayor Greg Fischer in May, after the police killing of Breonna Taylor captured national attention. This board will replace an existing civilian review board. Louisville has repeatedly turned to such boards in the wake of police killings of Black people. This time, supporters hope the body will attain subpoena power, a privilege that would be granted by the state.

Amina Elahi is WFPL's City Reporter.