Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Louisville Appoints Albuquerque Police Superintendent to Inspector General – 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Louisville has selected a finalist for its Inspector General to lead the city’s 11-person Civilian Review and Accountability Board, which focuses on police misconduct.

Edward Harness, the current head of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency in Albuquerque, NM, was selected for the role after a national search that found dozens of candidates. The appointment of Harness requires the approval of the Metro Council. Louisville officials created the new position of Civil Review Board and Inspector General last year following the police murder of Breonna Taylor and months of protests against racial justice.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced the election on Tuesday afternoon at a meeting of the civil review board. Fischer said Harness has a unique combination of skills that enable him to work with police officers and the community to ensure transparency and accountability.

“From an economic point of view, this is a startup for us,” said Fischer. “We thought it would be very valuable to find someone who has the experience to set up an agency elsewhere, to see the specifics of it and to bring this experience to bear here.”

In addition to directing police oversight in Albuquerque, Harness is a lawyer and former police officer. He was an officer in the Milwaukee Police Department from 1991 to 1997 before graduating from Marquette University Law School in 2000, according to his LinkedIn page.

The new Inspector General of Louisville will report to the Civilian Review Board, which is charged with investigating complaints against police officers. She will also have the authority to review reports of violence and previous internal investigations into police killings.

The inspector general is responsible for the organization of the board, the elaboration of its guidelines as well as the hiring and training of personnel. Harness told members of the civil review board that one of his first steps would be to hire an administrator to run the city’s processes and handle the paperwork the board needs to review.

The civil audit committee’s budget of $ 763,000 should be enough to hire five to eight people, according to Fischer.

Harness said he would be a staunch advocate of police oversight.

“My experience here in Albuquerque shows me that I need to make sure I speak to and listen to the members of the community and hear their concerns,” he said. “In the same way, I will ask and hear the same questions from the police.”

A three-person search committee consisting of Metro Councilor Paula McCraney, Vice-Chair of the Civilian Review and Accountability Board, Kellie Watson, and Public Service Director Matt Golden selected Harness for the position of Inspector General.

McCraney told WFPL News that she believes Harness’s history in law enforcement and his commitment to accountability will help him bridge the gap between officials and members of the community who have lost faith in the police.

“I think we created something for them [police union], it will work for the police and it will work for the community, “she said. “That is how it was designed, and I think everyone should be open-minded and feel confident that we have chosen someone with the skills that are unique to the position.”

The Metro Council’s Government Oversight and Accountability Committee is expected to take up their appointment in early November.

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