Spotlight: Louisville Regional Airport Police Chief Jim Sohan
AT A GLANCE
Years in Law Enforcement: 27
Louisville Regional Airport Police Department Chief for four years
Prior Law Enforcement Experience:
Louisville Division of Police; Louisville Metro Police
St. Xavier High School graduate in 1983; Bachelor of Science in Justice Administration from the University of Louisville in 1987
Due to the unique responsibilities of the Louisville International Airport Police, our officers have to pass not only the Peace Officer Professional Standards testing, but also the State Fire Commission’s Candidates Physical Ability Testing. Our officers are given the opportunity to exercise on duty and have to pass a modified POPS test twice a year, once in October and once in April. They are also given a complete physical and stress test every year that has to meet National Fire Protection Association standards for firefighting
Most of our crime prevention efforts come from uniformed presence and obvious video surveillance. We have a myriad of cameras that cover the airport terminal and surrounding properties. Signs notify individuals that they are under video surveillance. Our officers are in uniform and drive marked vehicles. We keep one officer inside the terminal, one in a marked vehicle inside the perimeter fence and one in a marked vehicle on the outside of the perimeter. We have a uniformed shift captain who works in a marked vehicle that floats between all areas. We also have four uniformed canine officers who work varying shifts. Aside from those officers, Transportation Security Administration and Customs also work in the terminal in uniform. Our agency made 74 arrests in 2016.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT YOUR AGENCY
We have 41 sworn police officers who also are state-certified firefighters and state-certified Emergency Medical Technicians. We have three platoons that work 24-hour shifts. There are 11 officers assigned to a shift. Officers not working police duty, are assigned to fire/EMT duty. Our officers made 458 calls for fire and EMT responses in 2016. Officers are required to complete 40 hours of law enforcement in-service training as well as 100 fire-training hours and 36 EMT-training hours. We operate with a $4 million budget in the public-safety department. Due to the KRS that guides our agency, our officers are allowed to work for another police agency. We have several who work for Taylorsville, Graymoor-Devondale, Pioneer Village and the Bullitt County Sheriff’s office on their off days. We operate a communications dispatch center 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All our dispatchers go through the Department of Criminal Justice Training’s Public Safety Dispatch academy.
People are more willing to follow someone if they know that person is willing to help them in good times and bad. Both the assistant chief and I make runs on a daily basis with those on fire and police duty, not only to keep our skills current, but also to let officers know that we’re there for them and don’t place ourselves on a different level. Both of us have an open-door policy and attend roll calls on a daily basis. This keeps rumors down to zero. Rumors can ruin an agency faster than morale. Anytime someone has a question, it’s answered immediately.
LAW ENFORCEMENT WISDOM
Most situations can be resolved through effective communication. Our officers deal with a traveling public on a daily basis. They’re not only law enforcement, but customer service. Our officers may be the last person someone sees as they leave the Louisville Airport or the first person they deal with when they fly into Louisville. Our officers have learned that sometimes people just want to be heard. We listen and, if needed, offer solutions. We deal with a small homeless population that trickles over from Metro Louisville and have trained our officers in crisis intervention. This has paid off with no use-of-force incidents in 2016.