LPD officer suspended after second formal complaint related to his driving

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Officer Jonathan Coyle of the Lexington Police Department (LPD) faces disciplinary actions including a suspension following a driving incident, according to details shared at Thursday’s Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council meeting. Coyle allegedly violated general orders and operational rules pertaining to the use of body cameras and department vehicles.

Police Chief Lawrence Weathers revealed that the investigation concluded with Coyle accepting a two-week suspension without pay and a six-month suspension of take-home fleet privileges. Notably, a severe violation was Coyle’s failure to keep his body camera in buffering mode for 15 days, resulting in unrecorded interactions with the public during that period.

The complaint originated from a citizen who encountered a driving incident involving Coyle on March 20, 2023. The officer pursued the complainant on Interstate 75 with an unmarked white police truck, using its emergency lights to overtake other vehicles but not for a traffic stop, as initially assumed by the citizen. Coyle failed to activate his body camera throughout the incident.

This is not the first instance of disciplinary action against Coyle, who joined the LPD in October 2015 and was part of the Bureau of Special Operations in Fiscal Year 2022. Coyle faced his first complaint on March 6, 2022, for cutting off a vehicle while driving his cruiser on the bypass in Richmond, KY, at 4:47 PM, despite being scheduled for patrol in West Sector until 5 PM. Coyle claimed to have left his post early to pick up his child.

Just three weeks later, the same citizen lodged another complaint after seeing Coyle’s cruiser on the bypass in Richmond at 4:57 PM. Coyle, once again, was supposed to be on duty until 5 PM in West Sector. This time, he explained his early departure by citing a “stomach ailment.”

Investigations into these incidents confirmed that Coyle had left his assigned sector early on both occasions without approval, violating the department’s operational rules. Consequently, on August 18, 2022, he received a written reprimand and a two-week suspension of home fleet privileges for violating the department’s rules and the operational and maintenance guidelines for department vehicles.

Reflecting on the disciplinary proceedings, Chief Weathers highlighted the department’s adherence to a policy of progressive discipline. This approach considers the severity and frequency of violations when deciding disciplinary actions.

Council unanimously approved the suspension 14-0. Council member Brenda Monarrez was absent from the meeting and did not vote.

Photo: Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers presents the discipline for Council approval at Thursday’s meeting. (LexTV screenshot)