Community

Citizens living in Louisville can now apply to be part of a soon-to-be-formed police training advisory board.

The 12-member board will examine, scrutinize and make recommendations to the way the Louisville Metro Police Department recruits and trains officers.

Mayor Greg Fischer and top police officials announced the creation of the board at a press conference earlier this summer. Its formation comes in the wake of heightened tensions between police and the public, both nationally and in Louisville.

Fischer said he hopes the Citizen Advisory Board will assist the city’s police department in improving initial interactions with residents.

“That sets the tone for the rest of the interaction,” he said.

But the lack of specifics regarding what, exactly, the board will be tasked with examining has raised concerns.

Citizen advisory groups need clear mandates about what should be done and the issues that need to be resolved, said Jon Shane, an assistant professor in the department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Shane said the people selected for the board need some understanding of the concept of police work, the law and the criminal justice system in general.

“If they don’t, then all you’re going to be left with is a very facile group of people who don’t know whether they should speak up or whether what is being given to them is legal or not legal, they won’t have any idea,” he said.

Still, there’s been praise here for the effort to increase interaction between police and people.

Carolyn Miller-Cooper, director of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission, expects the Citizens Advisory Board to benefit the city, as the dynamic of police and community relationships is changing.

“The more input, the more interaction, the more communication, the better,” she said.

To be eligible to serve on the board, you must be at least 21 years old, live in the jurisdictional boundaries of Louisville Metro Police and have no felony convictions or any pending criminal charges. The board will meet quarterly, according to a police department press release.

Applications will be accepted through the end of the month. Here is a link to the application.

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.