The Paducah Police Department's Professional Standards Unit exists to ensure the department continues to be a leader within the law enforcement community. The Unit is responsible for training, accreditation, internal affairs investigations, reviewing and maintaining use-of-force documentation, and special events. This Unit also acts as the point of contact for homeland security related issues, monitors department grants, and assists in the coordination of special events. The Professional Standards Unit is led by the Captain of Professional Standards and is supported by the Training Officer.
To meet the expectations of our community and to provide quality law enforcement services, the Paducah Police Department participates in the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police (KACP) Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. This is a voluntary program that provides a format for independent review of policies, procedures, and overall operations of the department. The Paducah Police Department received its fifth accreditation in July 2023. Department staff worked tirelessly leading up to the evaluation to review and ensure compliance with the KACP recommended standards. Evaluators from the KACP reviewed forms, files, and documents, and conducted onsite evaluations of the department's procedures.
Accreditation gives the Paducah Police Department confidence that the procedures they are following have been vetted and are accepted across the state as a best practice. It gives the members of the department a sense of pride and accomplishment. Additionally, as an accredited body, insurance rates and the likelihood of being involved in litigation are greatly reduced.
Officers are real people trying to do the best job possible in some of life's most difficult circumstances. The Paducah Police Department has high standards for its employees and expects each person to live up to those standards on a daily basis. A crucial part of maintaining a professional department is providing a way for the community to voice concerns and complaints. The Office of Professional Standards conducts internal affairs investigations and reviews internal and external complaints.
Internal complaints are usually made by an officer's superior in response to some type of recognized policy violation. Depending on the severity of the violation, disciplinary measures can range from an Employee Improvement Notice (EIN), to a written reprimand, to a suspension, and to termination of employment. In 2021, there were 20l documented complaints.
The Captain of Professional Standards is the Paducah Police Department's Homeland Security liaison for the sharing of information and intelligence between the Paducah Police Department and the KIFC. The Kentucky Intelligence Fusion Center (KIFC) is responsible for compiling, blending, analyzing, and disseminating information among the broad network of law enforcement, public health, and other key organizations. The Captain of Professional Standards also serves on the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Area Maritime Security Committee. Both of these committees consist of community stakeholders who are focused on issues related to the safety and security of the City of Paducah and McCracken County.
The City of Paducah hosts numerous special events occurring all throughout the year, and it recognizes the need for additional security measures at these concentrated mass gatherings. The Office of Professional Standards reviews and approves special event permits and develops operational plans that implement safety and security procedures for events that attract large crowds or by nature of the event, may raise a safety concern. While attending an event within the City of Paducah, you may notice an increased officer presence, but what you may not see are the undercover officers and mobile cameras within the event areas. We also utilize our specialized units to conduct pre-event walkthroughs to identify potential issues. In 2019, it is estimated that over 115 permits were reviewed, 14 operational plans were created, 546 officer hours and over 100 hours of Police Explorers and Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) time were dedicated to special events.
The Paducah Police Department emphasizes quality training at all experience levels. From brand new recruit officers to senior officers, the department sets and maintains a high standard for yearly training. The Paducah Police Department's Officers receive training in many disciplines annually, some of which include mobile field force, active shooter response, CPR, first aid, leadership, firearms, response to resistance, de-escalation of force, proper use of restraints, legal updates, less lethal options, Narcan, driving, officer wellness, defensive tactics, and policy updates.