LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Police Chief Robert White fires detective Crystal Marlowe


Louisville Metro Police detective Crystal Marlowe was fired Friday by Chief Robert White, more than a year after the department began investigating allegations that she made wrongful arrests and missed court hearings.

White found Marlowe guilty of 68 separate counts of violating department procedures, mostly involving the use of photographs to help witnesses identify suspects.

"Your actions have brought great discredit upon our department," White wrote in a detailed, nine-page letter to Marlowe. "Your conduct has damaged the image of our department which we have established with our community. … It is clear through my investigations you have chosen to violate the policies of the Department for your own convenience which led to individuals being charged with crimes they did not commit."

Marlowe, who was a police officer for 14 years and a detective for about three, refused to comment when The Courier-Journal reached her by telephone on Friday:

"You been asked numerous times not to call this number, so I suggest you not call it again," she said, before hanging up.

In an interview with the newspaper last year, Marlowe said she had done nothing wrong and considered herself to be "one of the more diligent detectives we have."

Her attorney, Mary Sharp, said Friday that she considered White's decision "unjustified and unwarranted" and she intends to file an appeal with the Police Merit Board.

Before her termination, Marlowe had been stripped of her law-enforcement responsibilities and assigned to a job in crime prevention. The department's investigation began in September 2009, after an assistant Jefferson County attorney questioned a number of her arrests.

The Courier-Journal reported last February that in 2008 and 2009 Marlowe had accused more than a dozen defendants, many of them juveniles, of crimes they did not commit.

The newspaper found that some defendants could not have been guilty of the offenses with which they were charged because they were in jail or had other evidence of their innocence. In other cases, Marlowe arrested suspects based on identifications that victims later said they never made.

Some of those Marlowe accused of crimes spent days or even months in jail before they were exonerated. During the past year, five people have joined a lawsuit against Marlowe and White, claiming they were wrongfully arrested by the detective and then incarcerated.

The Courier-Journal also reviewed approximately 130 felony cases in which Marlowe made arrests during 2008 and 2009 and found that 40 percent of them ultimately were dismissed - often at prosecutors' request.

At least 10 were thrown out because Marlowe missed court appearances. All told, the newspaper found that she failed to appear to testify in felony cases more than 50 times during that two-year period.

Police conducted a criminal investigation, but the Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office concluded in May there was insufficient evidence that Marlowe broke the law.

John Balliet, a prosecutor who reviewed the department's investigation of Marlowe, also concluded that she performed her job in a way that raised questions about her competence" and her compliance with police procedures.