Metro Louisville

 The majority of Louisville Metro Police Department officers and sergeants voted against a collective bargaining agreement that included the largest one-time raise for officers in the department’s history and some reform measures. 

The contract outlines rank-and-file officers would get a 9% raise this year and a 3% pay increase in 2022. About 70% of them rejected the proposal, said union president Ryan Nichols, of the River City Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 614.

He said while each member may have their own motivations for rejecting the agreement, insufficient pay and health benefits remain a shared issue. 

“The members have heard the chief of police say that LMPD should be the highest-paid police department in the state and this contract didn’t move them, really, even close into that position,” Nichols said. “There’s probably some concern there that the numbers that were proposed will not adequately allow the LMPD to recruit the most, and best, talent that’s available and retain the officers that we have.”

In a statement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said the proposed pay increases would have allowed the department to recruit desirable law enforcement candidates. 

“In the case of [newly] hired officers, they would have been at $65,000 plus benefits at the end of the proposed contract. Newly promoted Sergeants would have been at over $80,000 plus benefits,” Fischer said in an emailed statement. “For now, we will take some time to hear police and community input.”

Local social justice advocates have also pushed back against the collective bargaining contract. Their demands include that supervisors’ notes about an officer be in their personnel files, permanently ━ under the current agreement, those notes would be destroyed after one year. 

The agreement outlines some police reforms as a result of Breonna Taylor’s killing. They include cementing prior use of force, bias and untruthfulness into an officer’s permanent record. It would also allow parties disciplining officers to take those records into account.

Fischer’s administration and the city’s police union are now forced to head back to the drawing table to renegotiate details of the rank-and-file officer and sergeant contract. 

“It is a setback for the city,” Fischer’s statement said. “This contract included significant policy reforms to make the department more accountable, transparent, and community-oriented, as well as the largest single-year raise ever offered.”

Lieutenants and captains negotiated a separate contract. Nichols said about 85% voted to approve that agreement. It will next go before the Metro Council for ratification. 

This story has been updated.

Yasmine Jumaa is WFPL’s race and equity reporter.