Edward Harness

1020_ky_edward_harness_inspector_general.jpegMr. Edward Harness, J.D. has been involved in justice since 1982 and has served as a police officer, commissioner, attorney, Director and currently as Inspector General for Louisville Metro Government.  Now in his 4th decade of service, Harness has provided oversight for over 2 million citizens in three communities.

He began his work in justice while serving six years as an MP in the Army.  While ascending through the ranks he was a keen observer of the inequities of the military structure and the impact that had on the population they served. Harness then served for six years as an Officer with the Milwaukee PD where he earned numerous certificates of meritorious arrest and the prestigious Chief of Police Superior Achievement Award.  He again observed the impact police had on the community. These roles were instrumental in informing and developing his understanding of the need for oversight in law enforcement organizations.

Harness has a bachelor’s degree in Management of Criminal Justice Operations from Concordia University and a J.D. from Marquette. During his 15-year law practice he was a staunch advocate for the consumer, and in 2008 began his service as a police commissioner for Whitefish Bay, WI. It was there that he took up oversight in a meaningful manner.

In 2015 Harness was selected to serve as the Executive Director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency for the city of Albuquerque here he found a system broken and rife with hostility. Working under a consent decree and restructuring their oversight body, he retained dedicated professionals to reinvigorate the oversight of the APD.  Harness developed policy, assisted in the crafting of legislation and legislative amendments enabling and empowering the oversight body.  Through his interpersonal skills he formed a collaborative working relationship between his office and the APD.  This relationship allowed the newly reorganized office to conduct investigations in an efficient and responsive manner.

Harness was selected as the first Inspector General for the Louisville Metro Government. His task was to design and staff a completely new department within the city with exclusive oversight of the police. Harness immediately encountered major and continuing push back from the PD. He has worked tirelessly with the city, the PD and the FOP to craft enabling legislation, cooperative agreements, and processes for the fair and impartial investigation of misconduct. Harness has engaged the community through the establishment of ongoing Community Policing Councils in each of the eight police divisions as well as attending numerous civic events held by various constituencies in the city.

Harness has exemplified all that is good and needed in police oversight.  He has fully embraced the values of NACOLE and has encouraged and expected both staff and the Civilian Review & Accountability Board members to adhere to those same ideals. All individuals who engage with Harness and his office are treated with dignity, respect and compassion and this includes all citizens, police and employees.

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