The head of the Louisville Metro Police union said Friday that the department's new traffic stop policies will endanger officers and keep them from catching criminals.
Nikolai Jilek, president of River City Lodge 616, told the Courier Journal he was not consulted about the changes and called them "knee-jerk" measures that will "impede our safety and our work."
The revised policy was unveiled to officers about a month after the Courier Journal documented an incident in which 18-year-old Tae-Ahn Lea was stopped after making a wide turn in a West End neighborhood, then pulled from his car and handcuffed while the vehicle was searched by a police dog and officers. No contraband was found.
The changes, which go into effect Aug. 1, say removing motorists from cars, patting them down and handcuffing them should not be employed “as a matter of routine” and should only be done based on factors that include the motorist’s behavior, size and history of assaulting officers or fleeing.
Jilek objected to requiring that officers consider a subject's size, saying "just because someone is smaller doesn't mean they aren't dangerous."
He said another change — that "generally only two units should respond to a traffic stop" because "having too many officers on-scene can cause undo public concern" — also puts officers at risk.