Beshear describes mistakes by Kentucky’s probation and parole as unacceptable
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - One day after an exclusive WAVE News Troubleshooter investigation exposed a mess at the state’s Division of Probation and Parole, Kentucky’s governor described the issue in three words.
“It’s not acceptable.”
Gov. Andy Beshear spoke of the new issues brought to light on Thursday. A number of cases have now been flagged after discovering the criminals’ new violations, while under probation, were never reported to the judges or prosecutors.
The review came after Troubleshooters uncovered one officer didn’t report a suspect’s new felony. That suspect would later be arrested for killing one man and shooting a cop.
“Harm can come to people when we don’t catch everything we need to catch,” Beshear said.
Beshear added they are now conducting what he described as a “significant” audit of the division.
WAVE News obtained a copy of an internal letter, instructing officers to immediately submit reports for any violations that were missed. The Troubleshooter Investigation found out some of the cases affected are already closed, while others involved violent offenses.
“Through that audit, we may find out that there have been other mistakes or oversights,” Beshear said. “We have to know.”
The Secretary for the Justice Cabinet, Kerry Harvey, did not provide the number of cases that have been affected. He explained they are still going through the review.
The cases affected come from several counties across the state.
Harvey said they are suffering through major turnover and low pay, but that it was not an excuse.
The Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police said they are thankful the problems inside Probation and Parole are finally getting exposed. They said the officers are the ones who have been sounding the alarm, begging for change for the safety of the public, but that it’s fallen on deaf ears.
The FOP’s Vice President, Ryan Straw said while the officer’s mistakes have been highlighted, it’s the leadership that should be held accountable.
“The State (Department of Corrections,) locally and in Frankfort, have consistently failed in getting officers the much-needed relief to do their jobs effectively,” Straw said in a statement. “The DOC Commissioner, P&P Director and all of leadership need to ask themselves if they are the reason these issues continue to occur. We believe they are. Caseloads get audited in some form each year. Calling for an emergency audit after the accusation of wrongdoing smells of desperation on the part of leadership.”
Straw added he considers the Probation and Parole officers as some of the best law enforcement in Kentucky.
“It is imperative that they have a seat at the table when this mess gets cleaned up,” he said. “It is time to have the difficult conversations.”
Beshear promised two things through the audit, transparency and accountability.
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