FRANKFORT, Ky. – A new unit within the Kentucky State Police has been created to investigate officer-involved shootings.
State police Commissioner Rick Sanders said the unit is made up of three lieutenants, two sergeants and one detective.
Sanders, speaking at a Frankfort press conference, reported 29 state police-involved shootings since 2015.
The investigative unit is based at Kentucky State Police headquarters in Frankfort, and dispatched throughout the state as needed. The objective, Sanders said, is to be transparent but thorough.
“We will take the evidence to a commonwealth’s attorney, present the facts, and let them determine if the shooting should go before a grand jury,” he said.
Deputy state police Commissioner Alex Payne said it’s critical that officer-involved shootings are thoroughly reviewed.
“It’s critical for the officer, for the individuals in the community; it’s critical for victims and their families,” he said. “It has a huge trickle-down effect. And we want those people to know and have the confidence in us that we have our best people doing those investigations.”
The unit has been in operation since the first of the year, and has investigated five incidents since then. Payne called it a shame that such a unit need to be assembled.
“It says nothing good about our society,” he said. “Until hearts and minds change, there’s enough business out there to keep this unit going full time.”