A year after Louisville Metro Police moved most drug and street-crime investigations to district platoons, union leaders and training experts are concerned that some detectives don’t have specialized training they need, says the Louisville Courier-Journal. Records obtained by the newspaper in a Kentucky Open Records request show that about 75 percent of the 71 detectives assigned to flex platoons in each of the 10 police districts lack any specialized drug training. Some officers complained a year ago, when Police Chief Robert White dissolved several specialty units and moved their responsibilities to the flex units. Detective and public safety could be jeopardized if officers are doing work they have not been trained to do, some said.
White and others have said the platoons as a whole have adequate training. Some detectives in each have specialized training, as do all the sergeants supervising them. All officers receive some drug and street-crime training as recruits.
The chief noted that the flex platoons – named for their flexible work hours and assignments – are designed to bring more specialized attention to the worst crimes within each district. In some cases, that could be drug crime; in other cases, it could be car theft, he said, making specialized drug training a less immediate need.
Officials of the Fraternal Order of Police say that specialized training is a necessary reinforcement and expansion of the lessons officers learn as recruits. “You take these officers out of uniform and put them on the street undercover and expect them to know what to do automatically, and that’s not always the case,” said FOP President Richard Dotson, a former Louisville police chief. “If you’re going to work officers in plain clothes on street crimes, they have to have training, and it has to be in narcotics.”
Former Jefferson County Police Chief William Carcara said: “You can’t skirt around the issue that training for those types of officers is critical. You don’t want police officers doing on-the-job training, because that’s dangerous for the officer and dangerous for the public.”