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Louisville police chief resignation letter says mayor asked her to resign

Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel
Posted at 7:40 PM, Jun 25, 2024

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2 at 12 p.m.

The two-page resignation letter of former Louisville Police Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel was released on Tuesday with Gwinn-Villaroel noting in the letter that she was requested to resign by Mayor Craig Greenberg.

The resignation letter from Gwinn-Villaroel, which was sent to the mayor, read "I came here during challenging times for the agency and for the citizens wherein a wall of divisiveness between the men and women of LMPD, the citizens, media, and the mayoral administration existed."

Gwinn-Villaroel went on to address the alleged "subsequent toxicity" that she said existed within LMPD which "illuminated a conflict between those who sought diligently to uphold the proper ideals of the most noble of professions...," she detailed in the letter.

Further, the resignation read that the department had "cultural deficiencies" that Gwinn-Villaroel said she observed which created an "apathetic professional malaise."

Read the full resignation letter below:

Original Story:

Louisville's police chief, suspended earlier this month over mishandling a sexual harassment claim about an officer, has resigned, Mayor Craig Greenberg said Tuesday.

Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel became the third full-time Louisville police chief to resign or be fired since 2020. The department's leadership has had a revolving door since officers fatally shot Breonna Taylor during a botched drug raid that year.

Greenberg named Paul Humphrey, who took over as acting chief after Gwinn-Villaroel was suspended on June 12, as interim chief, the fourth interim chief since 2020. Greenberg said Humphrey would have the full powers of police chief, now that Gwinn-Villaroel has stepped aside.

The department has been thrown into turmoil in recent weeks by sexual harassment allegations. Last week, two female officers filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually harassed by fellow officers in recent years.

Greenberg said Tuesday the conduct alleged in the lawsuits was “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

“Everyone should be treated with respect by their colleagues,” Greenberg said. “And everyone has the responsibility to treat others with respect. That should be true in every workplace.”

Gwinn-Villaroel was suspended for mishandling a sexual harassment complaint brought by Maj. Shannon Lauder against a fellow police major. Lauder reported it to Gwinn-Villaroel during a May meeting of command staff, but later at that same meeting, the major was promoted to lieutenant colonel by Gwinn-Villaroel. Lauder said she spoke up at the meeting after Gwinn-Villaroel asked if there were any concerns about working with other members of the command staff.

Greenberg did not elaborate Tuesday on why Gwinn-Villaroel resigned or if he asked her to leave the department.

Greenberg said sexual harassment training procedures would be improved and a department policy that harassment complaints should go through an officer's chain of command would be amended to give officers other options for reporting those complaints. Officers found to be in violation of the sexual harassment policy could be terminated, he said.

Greenberg said there would be no active search for a new full-time chief at this time.

Gwinn-Villaroel came to Louisville from the Atlanta Police Department in 2021 alongside former Louisville Chief Erika Shields, who hired her as a deputy chief. Gwinn-Villaroel was named the full-time chief in July 2023.