Kentucky State Police creates team to investigate officer-involved shootings statewide

Locals see benefit in transparency, expertise

BURLINGTON, Ky. – Local law enforcers are getting more help from Kentucky State Police, and they’re grateful for it.

KSP has set up a specialized investigation team to take a closer look at any officer-involved-shootings in the commonwealth.

The reaction from Northern Kentucky is positive from the Boone County Sheriff's Office to the Alexandria Police Department in Campbell County.

The KSP team will review trooper-involved shootings - there were 29 last year - and those of other departments when asked. There were 19 in 2016.

The goal is to provide more transparency for the public and more expertise for the investigation.

Moments after Deputy Tyler Brockman shot Samantha Ramsey as the teen was driving away from a field party, the Boone County Sheriff's Office began its own investigation.

Two days later,  KSP was asked for help, but it said no  since another probe was under way.

WCPO asked Boone County Major Tom Scheben if KSP should have been called in the first place.

“Hindsight being 20/20, absolutely, because we know what we're getting to come up here,” Scheben said.

 

Call KSP first is the policy now.

It's what Elemere did in 2015 when an officer shot and killed a suspect who came at him with a knife.

It's what Ludlow did in 2015 when an officer shot and killed a man who pulled a gun on him.

What law enforcers get is a six-member team of troopers experienced in criminal investigations.

 “One of them might be great at interviewing. Another might be photography. Still another might be evidence collection and what to look for,” Scheben said.

Alexandria Chief Mike Ward says Northern Kentucky chiefs had lots of input into development of the new team.

“It's important to have that transparency, but more important is when you're investigating something like that is to remove, as much as you can, the individual personalities or potential biases,” Ward said.

Ward says calling KSP allows troopers to focus on an officer's possible criminal conduct while his department can concentrate on an administrative investigation.

Plus, KSP can help with other officer conduct questions.

 “They’ve come in and investigated one of our officers who was accused of doing something criminal and came back and said the officer did nothing wrong,” Ward said.

Ludlow Chief Scott Smith said calling in outside investigators is a no-brainer to assure the public of transparency. His small department doesn't have the resources to handle a lengthy and complicated investigation.

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