LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Chief Mike Griffin retires

Ex-FBI agent worked to make Oldham officers more accessible to public


While working for the FBI in 1992, Oldham County's police chief answered the call that led to the arrest of Mel Ignatow, who later confessed that he had murdered his fiancée, Brenda Sue Schaefer.

Chief Mike Griffin also worked for the FBI on the case of Shively Police Chief Michael Donio, who was convicted in 1984 of taking bribes from a strip-club operator.

For the last eight years, Griffin has overseen the Oldham County police force as the county's population soared by more than 10,000 people.

Griffin, 68, is retiring Wednesday.

"This is a younger man's game now, and it's time for someone else to come in and steward the department," he said.

Lt. Col. Billy Way will fill in as chief until the end of the year, when the next judge-executive will hire a new chief.

Magistrate David Voegele, the lone candidate for judge-executive, said he is interviewing candidates and may form a committee to advise him during the hiring process.

Griffin worked for the FBI for 22 years. He was working with the agency the day he got a call from someone installing carpet in Ignatow's former home. The installers said they had found jewelry and film canisters. The film was developed and revealed pictures of Schaefer being tortured.

Ignatow pleaded guilty to federal perjury charges but could not be charged again with murder because of double jeopardy.

"I wish there was something else we could have done - I don't know what it would have been - in order to sustain a murder conviction," Griffin said.

Griffin also worked on Donio's case for years and was part of the crime squad that indicted and arrested him. Donio was taking money from the business and allowing it to operate illegally, he said.

Griffin retired from the FBI in 1992. In January 2003, former Judge-Executive Mary Ellen Kinser hired him, and he became the sixth police chief since the Oldham department formed in 1978.

At the time, the department had 29 officers. It now has 32.

"We've only been able to grow by three," Griffin said. "While I appreciate that, I would have liked to grow more."