LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Is Louisville's police chief Robert White really that stupid?


Thomas McAdam is a former Legal Adviser for the pre-merger Louisville Police Department.


On primary election day, when the local media were overflowing with a flood of communiques from politicians, consultants, spinmeisters, and assorted political flacks, the Abramson administration let slip a-hopefully little-noticed-press release; to the effect that Louisville Metro Police Chief Robert White had ordered a 20-day suspension for Officer Jacqueline Hollingsworth.

Interestingly, the LMPD missive indicates that Chief White sent a letter to Hollingsworth on May 7, informing her that her suspension was effective May 10. It then took more than a week to inform the press and the public of White's disciplinary decision. In comedy and cover-ups, timing is everything.

The investigation into Officer Hollingsworth's financial operations goes all the way back to January, 2006, and at various times involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Commonwealth's Attorney's office and LMPD's internal Professional Standards Unit (formerly known as Internal Affairs). In his letter to Hollingsworth, Chief White said that he found reason to believe that she had violated the department's policy on truthfulness four times by providing false information during an investigation into her actions as treasurer of the Louisville Black Police Officers Organization, and by forging a receipt.

Hollingsworth had been accused of taking money from the LBPOO, which no longer exists. Even though there was evidence that she took money from the organization, which she then converted to her own use, and she was disciplined for lying under oath and forging a financial document, she has not been charged with any crimes. This whole affair stinks to the high heavens.

On the LMPD web site, Chief White claims that his "…goal is to continue to build a department that values the prevention of crime and understands that this can best be accomplished through strong citizen-police relationships, which must be built on accountability and trust." To let a slimy scandal such as L'Affaire Hollingsworth slip through his fingers, after almost five years of investigation and mounds of incriminatory evidence, certainly puts to lie White's stated goal of promoting "accountability and trust." Quite the contrary.

Back in August, your Louisville City Hall Examiner discussed this felonious farrago in some detail. At the time, we noted that, with the exception of repeated investigative reports by WHAS-11 television, Louisville's local media had been surprisingly silent concerning the details of this outrageous scandal.

WHAS-11 News obtained hundreds of pages of evidence from police indicating that Hollingsworth used money from LBPOO for her own benefit. According to investigators, Hollingsworth wrote a $5,000 check to herself from the group's account, and $3,800 was deposited in her personal account at Chase Bank. From those proceeds, an electronic check of more than $2,500 was issued to pay Countrywide Home Loans for three months of Hollingsworth's delinquent mortgage payments.

According to the WHAS-11 reports, other bank records show Hollingsworth took out multiple cash advances and wrote checks to herself from the organization's account. Investigators learned Hollingsworth paid her personal LG&E account with the organizations' money and wrote checks to friends and family members. In an interview with police, Hollingsworth admitted writing a $1,000 check to her son, Drashawn Bartlett, who is now in prison for murder. FBI agents and the Public Integrity Unit determined $14,531 dollars of the organization's money appeared to have been diverted for Hollingsworth's personal use in eight months.

Police investigators complain that one of the reasons the case has dragged on for almost five years is that every time officers take their case to the Commonwealth Attorney's office for review, they're asked to go back and get more information. Incredibly, Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Mark Baker apparently sent the public integrity investigators a memo in April of last year saying, "before this case even gets a consideration to go forward, I would want to see the following: every officer of that organization past and present needs to come to my office, state they believe she misappropriated funds, state they wish to prosecute, state they are going to cooperate with you, state they are in possession of and are willing to produce all the documents supporting the questioned transactions like by yesterday and state they are ready and willing to testify at the grand jury and any other proceedings as needed."

Again, we are compelled to ask: What in heaven's name is going on here? Does ACA Baker know something the rest of us don't? Are we naive to expect that the office of the Commonwealth's Attorney will place itself above considerations of politics and race when enforcing the law?

According to a report by the Courier-Journal's Jessie Halladay, Hollingsworth has a history of discipline during her time as an officer, which started with the former city department in 1993. She has several written reprimands in her personnel file, including for not handling her equipment properly, not staying in her assigned post, and having a car accident. She was suspended for four days in 2005 for violating the department's truthfulness policy during an investigation into a situation involving parking during the Kentucky Derby; although she appealed that decision and the suspension was lowered to three days.

Hollingsworth is evidently not averse to making a couple of bucks on the side. She has a commercial listing on Manta.com for a private security service in Louisville. Jacqueline Hollingsworth Security is listed at 4120 Handley Ave., Louisville, Ky. 40218-3514, and claims to be "…a private company categorized under Safety and Security Specialization and located in Louisville, Ky." The listing brags that "Current estimates," presumably supplied by Hollingsworth, "show this company has an annual revenue of $350,000 and employs a staff of approximately 7." One is tempted to suggest that readers with hen houses that need guarding should give consideration to hiring Hollingsworth Security and its "approximately 7" employees to keep an eye on things.

Maybe ACA Mark Baker should resign from the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office and find some honest employment elsewhere. He could always guard hen houses for Hollingsworth Security.

Last August, we commented: "Officer Jackie Hollingsworth is still working for the LMPD. She has not been found guilty of anything; and unless and until she is, she deserves the presumption of innocence. Maybe she had legally valid reasons for spending the LBPOO's fifteen grand. Maybe nobody cares." We must now attenuate that comment, with the reminder that the law compels a presumption of innocence for Officer Hollingsworth; the rest of us are not similarly constrained. Hollingsworth certainly appears to be as pure as the driven slush. But then, nobody really cares…

At the risk of appearing to be politically incorrect (a risk we have taken before) we need to suggest plainly that race had a lot to do with Chief White's being hired, and Officer Hollingsworth's not being fired. It's a wonderful thing that LMPD puts diversity first. It is unfortunate that integrity is not placed quite so high on the list.