West Buechel, KY – The police chief of West Buechel was suspended with pay on March 12 while his actions at a Louisville Metropolitan Police Department (LMPD) officer-involved shooting scene are investigated.
The incident began on March 9 when LMPD officers attempted to stop a vehicle driven by 32-year-old Darrell Wayne Blake Browning near the intersection of Preston Highway and Outer Loop, WHAS reported.
West Buechel Mayor Brenda Moore sent a letter to West Buechel Chief Jim Sherrard about the incident that ended with an LMPD officer shooting the suspect.
Moore’s letter alleged that Chief Sherrard’s wife was riding along with him in his official vehicle when the incident occurred, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The letter said the chief allowed his wife to stay in the car while he joined LMPD’s chase of Browning that ended at the Bashford Manor Walmart.
The mayor’s letter accused Chief Sherrard of leaving his wife unattended in his police car in front of the Walmart while he went inside, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
“Additionally, while you were inside the Walmart, your wife, without your knowledge, moved your city-issued police vehicle from the location you left it and moved the vehicle directly to the scene of an active police-involved shooting of the suspect involved in the LMPD pursuit,” the letter read.
Browning led police through the store and ran out the back of the Walmart with a gun in his hand, according to WHAS.
Dashcam video released by LMPD showed one officer hit Browning with his car as he attempted to flee.
Browning opened fire with a pistol when he was struck and LMPD Officer Michael Crowe shot him, WHAS reported.
Moore also accused Chief Sherrard of trying to influence witnesses at the scene, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The letter said that when the police chief found out his wife had moved his police car, he told witnesses “this will never be discussed.”
The mayor suspended Chief Sherrard without pay until the investigation into the incident was completed, WHAS reported.
The police chief could face disciplinary action including termination if the allegations against him are sustained.
Chief Sherrard, a 17-year veteran of law enforcement, joined the West Buechel Police Department in 2012 as a patrol officer and worked his way up the ranks to police chief, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
The police chief worked as a K9 handler, the K9 supervisor, shift supervisor and assistant chief of police before he became top cop in the Louisville suburb.