LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Police ask for return of car take-home fees


The Fraternal Order of Police chapter that represents metro police asked a judge Wednesday to order metro government to return hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees charged to officers for using their police cars after work hours.

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet issued an opinion in May and a final order in July that the police department and Mayor Jerry Abramson violated collective-bargaining laws when they imposed the fees without union approval.

But metro government still has the money that was collected from the fees, and wants to keep it while they appeal the ruling in Jefferson Circuit Court.

Union attorney Dennis Janes told Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry on Wednesday that the city refuses to negotiate or return the money.

"It's a lot of money to the police officers I represent," he said.

About a dozen officers sat in the courtroom during the hearing, some shaking their head when Perry said he would not immediately make a ruling.

Paul Guagliardo, a county attorney representing the city, said it was unclear exactly much money had been collected and that it was premature to return the fees, telling Perry the appeal should be decided first.

Perry said it was a "non-standard" request to ask for the fees to be returned while the appeal is pending but did not make a decision Wednesday. Perry promised to expedite the appeal.

In an interview, Janes said he made a request to meet with the city in December to talk about refunding the money but "they just ignored us."

"We didn't have any options other than to go to the courthouse," he said. "They don't have any motivation to do anything that's going to surrender this pile of money."

Bill Patteson, a spokesman for the County Attorney's Office, said negotations were ongoing.

The fees, which were collected until July, were instituted in an effort to generate about $110,000 a month to help offset budget shortfalls.

Metro government argued that it could impose the monthly fee of $100 to $160 because using police patrol cars for personal use or off-duty work is a privilege not regulated by the contract.