Chief Terrill Riley Cave City Kentucky


WBKO announced on September 13th that Cave City Kentucky now had a new Police Chief.  His name is Terrill Riley, and was formerly an Officer with the Police Department.

Terrill Riley, who’d been filling in as interim Cave City police chief, following the retirement of former Chief Jeff Wright, was appointed Monday to the position of chief.  LINK

Per WBKO: 

GLASGOW, Ky. (WBKO) — Last night, Chief Terrill Riley was appointed to Police Chief by Cave City Mayor, Dwyane Hatcher.

Although Chief Riley officially accepted the new position on Monday, he’s already starting to meet his goals during his time as Cave City’s Police Chief. ​ “One of the things I’m really looking forward to right now, and obviously it was one of my goals taking over as Chief is getting the D.A.R.E. program back in to Caverna Schools System up here.”  Chief Riley says the D.A.R.E. program will come back to the Caverna Schools System this October.


On the same day, this discussion was posted on TOPIX.Com


Elizabethtown, KY

#1 Monday Sep 12

I may be not up to date on laws and such but i do know that there are certain qualifications that have to be met to be chief and while i respect the man that received the position he did not possess all of the qualifications required to no fault of his other than just not enough time on the job to provide the training and experienced which he would have later. My point is that in order to be appointed chief the council had to vote to completely change the requirements of such which as they had other applicants fully qualified who had applied for the position and who were not even given the respect of an interview was very low and completely in my way of thinking not only disrespectful to the standing rules and city regulations with no concern for the people of the city and the fact that they deserve the very best that the other applicants weren’t even called in for interviews after being told they had a fair change, illegal!! Therefore each and everyone on the council and the mayor and everyone else concerned should be impeached and or fired from their positions since they use their power not for the better of the community but to fulfill their own pettiness and make up the rules as they go!! So so sad to have to abide in a place where the people who are supposed to be running our town and keeping our streets safe are the biggest crooks of them all as i said no disrespect to the chief but if he is the man i think he is, i believe he would agree that the existing requirements should stay in place and not be bent to play favoritism even to him knowing that he is young with plenty if time to be qualified by the existing rules which would be the only honorable and fair thing to do.   LINK

The links below are to several forum posts on TOPIX about Terrell Riley.

3/9/2012 Chief Minton Hires Terrill Riley

8/24/2011 Tire slasher Terrill Riley takes council

1/11/11 – Apparently someone did not care for him as their Landlord!  TERRILL RILEY

Terrell Riley

1/7/2010  where did terrill riley post go?

wheres terrill

Apparently, this story sums up how Terrill Riley was slipped into the role of Police Chief of Cave City after Police Chief Jeff Wright announced his retirement on May 27 after an incident report was filed, dated Feb. 17, stating the city has received a written complaint against Wright and Capt. Chris Edwards from Stacy Estes Monroe, owner of Learning Tree Day Care.  In her formal complaint, Monroe said Wright and Edwards “used professional tactics of power and control to intimidate and harass me and my staff. I was also threatened by Chief Jeff Wright that he would contact the state police and the media over this issue and I would lose kids.”  LINK TO STORY HERE

Chief Riley has said that getting the D.A.R.E Program back into Caverna Schools is a priority. 

New Cave City police chief will bring D.A.R.E. to local school

As far as the D.A.R.E. Program is concerned, here is an article which seems to say that it just did not work. 

Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot,” founded the DARE program, which was quickly adopted nationwide.  LINK

Additionally, there is this article published by TIME in February of 2001:  Just Say No to DARE

How Police Chief Riley does during his first year in this position will remain to be seen.  People change and this is a small town with everyone knowing most everyone else, or at least having heard about them!  Chief Riley may turn out to be a good choice for Cave City.  We will see how it plays out. 

Comments on this post are welcomed!

Following a unanimous vote Monday night by City Council members, Cave City accepted a land donation of 40 acres, located beside the Cave City Convention Center



On December 16th, it was announced via WBKO Television News that the Gaunce family had donated a piece of land adjacent to the Cave City Convention Center, to be used for an Industrial Park for the City.

The land was valued at $650,000, a price Smith said the city never would have been able to afford on their own.

Cave City did purchase a small section of land that joined the portion the Gaunce family gave them in hopes of building a nice  entrance to the industrial park, as well as fulfilling some requirements set by the State Highway Department.

Robert Smith stated in that article that, “Cave City has always been known as a tourist town and up until this point that’s been really good for us; however, tourism industry has changed. We need an everyday tax base for us, we need jobs that people can go to without having to travel so far,”

I would beg to differ with that argument because everywhere I look I see “help wanted” signs around the area.  There seems to be plenty of employment opportunities available for that type of work.  They do seem to be having a hard time filling those positions judging from the signs and advertisements that are all over the road and in the media as well.  One of the reasons for that is that every job is requiring a “drug test” be submitted before employment which, we all know, is biased against anyone who smokes Cannabis for any reason.

So why do we need an Industrial Park sitting in the main area which is the “entrance” to the town of “Cave City”?  A place which has always been a tourist town and the place to go to see small town life and Nature as well?  A place that can’t fill all of the industrial type of jobs that it currently has, let alone more?  Doe’s anyone living in the Cave City area see a reason to build this Industrial Park for more jobs?  We need small shop owners and café’s to reopen in the area, as well as some types of agribusinesses, not factories or other monstrous businesses. 

Per the report,  in a unanimous vote on December 14th, by the City Council members, Cave City chose to accept a land donation of 40 acres, located beside the Cave City Convention Center.  This gift was donated by the Gaunce family, who, incidentally , SOLD Cave City a small parcel of land adjacent to this property to be used for the “Entrance”.

The City Council includes the following six members, according to the Cave City official website: Gary Hogan, Seaborn Ellzey, Gary Minor, Kevin Houchens, Denny Doyle and
Steve Pedigo.  The Cave City Council Meeting is the second Monday of the Month, so the next meeting will be January 11th, 2016*. 

The Glasgow Times reported that the property is actually owned by Wayne Gaunce, according to his son, Patrick. 

“I guess if anything that should be said it should be that Cave City has been good to our family, and this is a small way that we can be good to Cave City,” said Patrick Gaunce.

Additionally in the Glasgow Times,  Mayor Dwayne Hatcher said, “The main purpose I feel of government is to provide for the needs of the citizens,” said Mayor Dwayne Hatcher. “I feel like we have done that. Have we done everything that needs to be done?  No, but I think we have made progress and will continue to do so.”

According to the same article in the Glasgow Times, in February, the city received a $100,000 grant from the Industrial Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County to use for the purpose of acquiring property and developing it into an industrial park.

Why couldn’t the Gaunce family donate this land to Cave City ‘just because’?  In other words, why must it be used for an Industrial Park in the middle of a Tourist town?  Why does everything have to ‘progress’ to industrial?  How about we use the donated land and grant money to plant and promote ‘industrial Hemp farming’ on that property?  And the unoccupied property at the corner of 101 Broadway can be turned into a ‘Cannabis Café’ and by Spring of 2017 we will have a boom town in Kentucky with plenty of jobs for all of the people…even the ones that occasionally smoke Marijuana!

Coming from a large city I have seen first hand the damage an industrialized zone does to residential areas.  It is not a pretty site to see.   The pollution is not wanted or needed here, (we get enough of Louisville’s already),  and even if the ‘business’ produces little to even no pollution of it’s own (which is doubtful), the extra exhaust from the traffic will be noticeable to say the least.  We need to protect the environment, the agricultural heritage and the people of Cave City. 

Put some cow’s and Hemp on that land…. and keep the Industry out!

Also of note,

Posted: Friday, February 13, 2015 11:52 pm

By JAMES BROWN / Glasgow Daily Times

The IDEA board entered closed session to discuss property. The Infrastructure Committee of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce has identified property that could be developed for industrial needs. The committee members were on hand to give a presentation of those properties in closed session. LINK



*Anyone interested in attending the Cave City Council Meeting on January 11th, 2016 please email me at or contact me thru Facebook at THIS LINK.



Information obtained from these links:

A year to remember for Cave City

Donation sets Cave City on track for new Industrial Park

Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County

Glasgow/Barren Co. IDEA

Incentive Programs

Floyd Collins, Wayne Gaunce are inducted into Hall of Fame

Gaunce Management Inc.

Houchens Industries Inc.

Barren County Property Valuation Administrator

Cave City receives $100K grant


FunZilla is a state-of-the-art entertainment center to be located in Glasgow, Kentucky.

“FunZilla is committed to doing business well, as well as doing good with our business.”

— Charles Massie

GLASGOW, KY, USA, December 1, 2016 / — Glasgow, KY – A Kickstarter campaign has officially been launched for ‘FunZilla’, a state-of-the-art indoor Family Entertainment Center to be located in South Central Kentucky. The Kickstarter campaign aims to garner widespread support and financial backing to finance the acquisition of land and construction of the center. Projected opening of FunZilla will be in July, 2017.
Located just outside the city of Glasgow, Kentucky and only 8 miles from Interstate I-65, FunZilla will be housed within a 30,000 square foot building, situated on 3 acres of open land. FunZilla will be an entertainment center that offers a feature-packed, easy to reach party environment for groups of many sizes. The Company’s future plans include an ever expanding menu of party options, attractions and family enticements. FunZilla will feature a unique layout which will allow parents to join in the fun with their children, or simply enjoy watching them romp from a lounge with a set of viewing windows.
Inspired from the realization that a family-friendly, climate-controlled entertainment center didn’t exist in the immediate area, founder Charles Massie set out to provide a cost-effective solution that would appeal to all age groups and function as a leader in the community. “FunZilla provides numerable activities and events for everyone to find interest in. We call it the “Disneyland Effect”. Said Massie. “Most importantly, this also provides strong reasons for you to return regularly to the center for casual fun, special events and concerts. This will not be a “been there done that” experience.”
Some of the key features that will make FunZilla a major play destination for South Central Kentucky include; a gorgeous themed attractions incorporating interactive technology, an 18-hole miniature golf course, a video driving range, video batting cages, a rock climbing wall, and an amusement arcade packed with the latest games.
“FunZilla is committed to doing business well, as well as doing good with our business. We will follow ethical, sustainable, and transparent practices to make sure that we have the best social and environmental impact possible,” says Massie.
Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. Everything from films, games, and music to art, design, and technology. ‘Backers’ who support a project on Kickstarter get an inside look at the creative process, and help that project come to life. All ‘Backers’ of the FunZilla Kickstarter campaign who pledge $25 or more will receive free admission to FunZilla for a family of four, plus a special gift from the Company. Additional rewards are available at higher pledge levels.
The Kickstarter campaign is officially open until January 1, 2017. For more information about the Kickstarter campaign, visit:

Charles Massie
FunZilla Family Entertainment Center
email us here


Legalize marijuana for the state’s sake


Editorial Board

In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Since then 28 more states have approved the drug for medical use, with another eight, including California, allowing adults to use the drug recreationally. Unfortunately, Kentucky has been slow to adapt, despite the many benefits legalizing the drug would provide.

Back in the day, Kentucky used to thrive growing tobacco. That same land, rich for growing tobacco, is ideal for growing marijuana, which can also be used to produce hemp, a versatile product which can be manufactured into paper, textiles, clothing, food, plastic, and a multitude of other products. 

Marijuana would also be useful as a medical alternative for many in the state who are dependent on prescription drugs. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the highest cancer rates of any state in the country, largely due to our large dependence on the coal and mining industries, which has left countless hard-working Kentuckians with lung cancer. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has said that marijuana kills cancer cells along with alleviating the nausea and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy, which poses a much more effective alternative to prescription drugs. 

With so much of our state crippled by a dying coal industry, legalizing marijuana would be an enormous jobs creator for people looking to farm the crop and others looking to get into the business side of the industry with dispensaries. 

While stigmas still exist surrounding the drug, the issue of marijuana legalization is slowly becoming more of a bipartisan issue that draws support from both Democrats and Republicans, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who has said in the past that he plans to sign a medical marijuana bill into law during his time in office.


It has become a trend in the mainstream media to avoid one of the most pressing issues, not …

States that have approved the drug for recreational use, such as Colorado, tax the drug, and use the money in a variety of ways, from helping the homeless, to improving infrastructure and education. In 2016 alone, Colorado is expected to bring in over $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana. 

If a similar system of policy was applied in the Bluegrass, money could be used for better education throughout the state, a hot-button issue under Bevin’s administration due to his proposed, but unsuccessful, cuts to higher education. Revenue could also go towards helping revitalize eastern Ky. along with infrastructure, homeless, and veterans, following in the footsteps of Colorado’s successful endeavor with the green. 

According to a 2012 poll by Kentucky Health Issues, 78 percent of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical marijuana. It’s time for our lawmaker’s throughout the state to come together and enact a policy to reflect the will of the people. The longer we wait, the more potential tax revenue we miss out on that could go to benefitting Kentuckians in need. It’s time to

“Make Kentucky Green Again!”



Mammoth Cave closes Houchin Ferry access to Green River

  • Green River

    MAMMOTH CAVE NATIONAL PARK — The deterioration of the Green River Lock and Dam No. 6 near Brownsville, which has caused the level of the Green River to drop, has spurred Mammoth Cave National Park officials to close river access at Houchin Ferry.

    The announcement was made Wednesday by the national park.

    “We have blockaded it. We have put barriers up. The pavement ends and then there is this drop-off of about 9 feet so we don’t want anybody going down there and thinking it’s OK to back their boat into the water and find out the water is 9 feet below where it used to be,” said Vickie Carson, public information officer for the national park. “Right now we don’t want canoes and kayaks launching there just because the banks are super saturated. It’s just a hazardous situation.”

    Work crews with the national park were out on the Green River on Tuesday, checking the water level.

    The water level of the river has fallen due to a hole under the right side of the dam structure, which indicates a partial failure of the dam.

    Carol Labashosky, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, explained that the lower part of the dam has been washing away and over time has created the hole.

    “Instead of the water flowing over the top of the dam, it is flowing through the dam,” she said, adding this could cause the dam to breach or fail.

    The corps of engineers is watching the dam to see what happens.

    “It’s hard to predict how severe it will get,” Labashosky said. “The corps is just trying to let the public know it is in very serious condition and that it is hazardous.”

    The lock and dam were built in 1904-1905 and put into operation in 1906. The corps of engineers ceased operation of the lock and dam in 1951 due to a lack of commercial navigation and allowed it to fail and restore the river to its natural condition, she said.

    “What we are doing is just keeping communications open with stakeholders, (and) putting out information on the condition,” Labashosky said. “That’s basically what we are doing. We can’t predict when it will completely go into the water. The main thrust is that it will ultimately breach but that would not cause any economic or public safety issues.”


    Bowling Green WWII veteran receives France’s highest honor

  • Simone Payne

    Bowling Green WWII veteran receives France's highest honor

    World War II veteran Samuel H. Robertson did a small victory lap around the Warren County Courthouse lawn Saturday after being honored with the National Order of the Legion of Honor, the highest honor France bestows upon those who have achieved remarkable deeds for the country.

    The 95-year-old earned the honor for his service as part of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army, which led to his participation in the liberation of France during the Normandy landings on D-Day. Robertson was one of three survivors in his glider that crashed, according to a letter from the consulate general of France in Chicago read by Rep. Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, during the ceremony.

    Robertson entered service in March 1943 at the age of 22 and from November 1943 to November of 1945, participated in campaigns in Normandy, Ardennes and Central Europe, among others. He was an installer and repairman of telephone systems and took part in Operation Overlord, the first United States combat that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during WWII.

    Robertson has been honored with other distinguished awards including the Distinguished Unit Badge, the Meritorious Unit Award, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five bronze stars, the Airborne Glider Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the WWII Victory Medal and the Purple Heart.

    During the ceremony, Lee Robertson, who also served in WWII, said a few words about his older brother and his accomplishments. He mentioned that his brother never got a chance to be a kid. At just 9 years old, Samuel became the man of the house after his father could no longer work. 

    “Small in stature, big in fight, that’s always been him. I’m proud of you brother,” Lee Robertson said. 

    First Lt. Dean Riggs of the 101st Airborne said a few words to honor Robertson for his service. He mentioned that he’s thankful for extraordinary men like Robertson who were willing and able to volunteer their service when this nation called for it.

    Robertson was filled with tears as he listened to the letter being read recounting his experiences during WWII. He was filled with joy and as he ran in a circle during his victory lap, he yelled how thankful he was to still be alive. 

    “There were a whole lot of people that were there at the same time that didn’t make it,” Robertson said. “I was lucky.”

    Robertson’s children and grandchildren were present during the ceremony. His daughter Rebecca Warren said her brother contacted the French government about nine months ago and research began to verify her father’s participation in service with France. They found out that he was receiving the award less than a month ago. 

    “It’s just amazing. Of course our opinion of our father has always been high. He’s always been a wonderful example for us,” Warren said. “The morals that he was taught as a child went forward in his service to our country and all of Europe during WWII. … It’s amazing to us for him because it’s always something that he has held within himself, the honor of being able to participate.”

    — Follow faith/general assignments reporter Simone C. Payne on Twitter @_SimonePayne or visit


    Kentucky Marijuana Legalization Not In Pre-Filed Bills For 2017


    Across America, Election Day showed strong support for marijuana legalization, but can Kentucky expect the same in 2017?

    While Kentucky had some promise in 2016 that legalizing marijuana was in the works, they did not join the eight states that voted for either recreational or medical marijuana on November 8.

    According to Marijuana Policy Project, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. In addition, Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana all voted for medical marijuana.

    Currently, 28 states in America have legalized medical marijuana, but will Kentucky catch up anytime soon?

    The excitement with Kentucky marijuana laws started in December, 2015, when state senator Perry Clark introduced the idea after many previous attempts.

    Dated March 6, the bill Perry Clark introduced was called the Cannabis Freedom Act in Kentucky.


    Following this, updates about Kentucky marijuana laws hit a milestone on July 5. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, meetings were being held “behind closed doors” about a proposed medical marijuana law.

    At the time, Kentucky senator John Schickel, said they needed to hold the meetings about marijuana legalization to “vet” the issue, according to WFPL.

    On July 11, WKMS reported that Kentucky’s medical marijuana laws got a boost of support by the prestigious health organization in the state, the Kentucky Nurses Association. About legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, a representative for the nurse’s association stated, “providing legal access to medical cannabis is imperative.”

    Although it was talked about in meetings at the Kentucky Senate, according to their notes posted in July, August, and October, the marijuana legalization issue appeared to be stalled.

    In late September, WFPL concluded their article about the marijuana legalization attempts in Kentucky with “the bill was assigned to a committee but never received a hearing.”

    They also quoted Kentucky state senator Jimmy Higdon, stating that the lawmakers were confused about how the bill would be implemented. Senator Higdon said he would mainly be interested in allowing medical marijuana “to be prescribed in end-of-life situations.”

    Does the lack of new updates mean that the bill has completely dried up, and Kentucky will not be seeing more medical marijuana laws to vote on in the next election?

    Sadly, the pre-filed 2017 Kentucky House Bills that are available online do not reflect any updates about marijuana as of November 25.

    Despite this, there could be updates in the near future because the Cannabis Freedom Act that was discussed in 2016 was actually filed in early December, 2015. This means Kentucky still has some time to see if marijuana legalization might be a big part of elections in the state in 2017.


    On the other hand, Kentucky could get a lot of new laws about controlled substances in 2017, but they are not marijuana-related. For example, pre-filed bill BR 201 states it will “create the offense of aggravated fentanyl trafficking” in the state of Kentucky law books.

    Adding to this, pre-filed bill BR 210 that sits before the Kentucky state senate in 2017 states its purpose is “to make trafficking in any amount of fentanyl or carfentanil subject to elevated penalties.”

    New proposed bills in the state of Kentucky are also targeting the medical community. For example, pre-filed bill BR 202 states the following.

    “[A] practitioner shall not issue a prescription for a narcotic drug for more than seven days unless specific circumstances exist.”

    Of course, Kentucky might not have time to vote on marijuana legalization because Donald Trump may not be building his cabinet with marijuana supporters.

    For example, CNN reported on November 25 that Donald Trump is appointing a marijuana legalization opponent, Senator Jeff Sessions, as his Attorney General.

    About marijuana, Jeff Sessions was quoted as stating the following at a senate hearing in April, 2016.

    “Good people don’t smoke marijuana. We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger.”


    Beshear asks Kentuckians who witness election irregularities or possible election law violations to call the hotline

    As absentee votes are cast and voters prepare to head to the polls, Attorney General Andy Beshear is urging Kentuckians to report any voting abnormalities to his office’s Election Fraud Hotline.

    Beshear asks Kentuckians who witness election irregularities or possible election law violations to call the hotline at 800-328-VOTE or 800-328-8683.

    The hotline is open during normal business hours and from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

    “Each voter has the right to cast his or her ballot free of interference and intimidation, and my office is here to protect that right,” Beshear said. “Each and every report made will be promptly investigated to ensure a fair and honest election in Kentucky.”

    Louisville Police Have Quietly Built A Massive Online Monitoring Operation

    By: Jacob Ryan, WFPL News

    Louisville Metro Police

    The Louisville Metro Police Department has spent nearly $140,000 in recent years on social media monitoring software that can track and compile data on a vast number of internet users.

    Since 2014, the department has expanded the potential of this database, which can catalog up to 9.5 million social media postings and a limitless supply of individual profiles, according to a WFPL News investigation.

    The department’s ability to surveil social media users comes with little oversight and no guiding policy, according to documents obtained through the Kentucky Open Records Act.

    Department officials have declined multiple interview requests over the past two weeks. It remains unclear how LMPD uses this system, who they track and what becomes of their data.

    To date, the department has provided virtually no detail about their relationship with SnapTrends, an Austin, Texas-based company that offers “location-based social insights” that provide a “the full story of every social conversation,” according to its website.

    Police departments across the country spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to monitor local social media channels. The public agencies have said that monitoring Twitter and Facebook is now standard practice for law enforcement in the Internet Age.

    But the mass surveillance of social media users raises concerns among privacy experts and civil liberty advocates.

    “It undermines people’s speech and their associations when the entirety of their social media data is being analyzed by law enforcement,” said Jeramie Scott of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based research group focused on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues.

    In paying for the social media tracking service, LMPD also utilized an exemption in the city’s purchasing policy that allows an agency to forgo a typical competitive bidding process.

    No Policy, No Public Discussion

    The police department’s purchase of social media monitoring software in March 2014 came just days after a group of some 200 young people caused several acts of vandalism and violence downtown, starting at Waterfront Park.

    A gas station was ransacked. Cars sitting at traffic lights were pummeled, and robberies were reported. Police said they received some 30 calls for assistance in the downtown area that night, which resulted in 17 police reports and at least 10 assaults, said Chief Steve Conrad in a briefing days later. Conrad called it “truly mob-like behavior.”

    Mayor Greg Fischer quickly ordered the installation of $230,000 worth of high-definition cameras in and around Waterfront Park. Police racked up more than $1 million in overtime pay in the six weeks that followed, according to a report from The Courier-Journal. And via a state-of-the-art crime information center in downtown Louisville, police began monitoring cameras across the city.

    Just over a week later, department officials made their first order for a subscription to SnapTrends. The service is employed by police departments, school districts and foreign governments.

    Louisville police’s first SnapTrends purchase in 2014 gave seven users the ability to monitor and store more than three million postings. Since then, the department has continued to expand on the subscription service.

    In all, LMPD has paid nearly $140,000 for the program.

    The most recent agreement allows 19 users to mine 9.5 million social media postings and create a limitless database of user profiles.

    Metro Hall

    Metro Hall

    Conrad, the police chief, has publicly praised the push for other tech tools: more cameras, the opening of the crime information center and, more recently, the adoption of a gunshot detection system. But the proliferation of LMPD’s social media surveillance effort has flown under the radar.

    There has been scant public discussion of the effort and no briefing to the Metro Council.

    The department has issued no public report on the surveillance program, and LMPD’s transparency website provides no information about its use of SnapTrends.

    Through a spokesman, the LMPD major in charge of the program declined an interview to discuss the department’s use of the software.

    The police department also declined a records request seeking all archived social media postings from March 2014 to August 2016, as well as records of correspondence with SnapTrends. The department cited an exemption in Kentucky’s open records law that allows records to be withheld if their disclosure would expose a vulnerability in preventing or protecting against a terrorist act.

    WFPL News has appealed that decision to the state’s attorney general.

    Other Kentucky Agencies Monitoring Social Media

    Statewide, police use of social media monitoring is a mixed bag.

    In Lexington, the state’s second largest city, police use WeLink, a platform that bills itself as a digital-risk management tool. Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said the agency uses the software to “monitor public social media posts for information that could involve threats to public safety.”

    Bowling Green police officials previously considered purchasing software from LifeRaft, a Canada-based company. Officer Ronnie Ward, a police spokesman, said the agency  “looked at it,” but “so far, haven’t been able to outweigh the cost with the benefit of it.”

    “We just can’t justify it right now,” Ward said.

    Police in Paducah and Frankfort reported that they didn’t use social media surveillance software. Kentucky State Police did not return a request for comment.

    Exemption Allowed LMPD Secrecy in Purchase of Monitoring Software

    In Louisville, the LMPD made four payments to SnapTrends each ranging from $19,500 to $53,000, according to invoices obtained by WFPL News.

    Louisville Metro government purchasing policy requires a contract for all purchases regardless of amount, according to an August 2016 internal audit of the city’s procurement policy. Purchases exceeding $20,000 are to be made using a Professional Service Contract, the audit states, which must be reviewed by the Metro Council.

    Three LMPD payments to SnapTrends exceed that threshold, records show. Yet in response to an open records request, the police department said “no records exist” of a contract detailing the agreement.

    An invoice from SnapTrends to LMPD for $53,000.

    A SnapTrends invoice to LMPD for $53,000.

    Erica Allen, an administrator in the city’s office of management and budget, said the police department’s purchase is considered “a subscription” and thus exempt from such requirements.

    City purchasing policy provides an exemption to “memberships, dues and purchase of periodicals in either paper or electronic format.” Exemptions exist when competitive bidding is not feasible or practical, the policy states.

    Metro Councilman David James, chair of the council’s public safety committee and a former police officer, said that policy is vague.

    “I don’t think we were thinking in terms of a subscription costing over $20,000,” he said. “Technology has gone beyond what our public policy is that we wrote, and so we need to go back and look at it and change it to adjust to 2016.”

    The section of Metro purchasing policy dealing with exemptions.

    The section of Metro purchasing policy dealing with exemptions.

    Widespread Scrutiny of Social Media Monitoring

    The surveillance of social media by law enforcement is under scrutiny across the country.

    Some companies assisting law enforcement with conducting mass online surveillance are under fire for misusing social media data to help law enforcement track certain communities.

    For instance, Geofeedia, a Chicago-based company, had its access to certain social media user data severed earlier this month by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, after the ACLU reported it marketed its service as a way to monitor activists.

    SnapTrends had its access cut by Twitter for similar reasons, according to a report from The Daily Dot.

    A report from Bloomberg details SnapTrends use in the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh, where the company provided Twitter data to a law enforcement agency classified by Human Rights Watch as a “death squad.”

    The company did not respond to a request for comment.

    Chris Burbank, director of law enforcement engagement for the Center for Policing Equity and a former police chief in Salt Lake City, said police are likely conducting social media surveillance regardless of whether they’ve purchased a subscription with a software company like SnapTrends.

    “I only see it getting more significant,” he said.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, said Scott, national security counsel and director of the domestic surveillance project for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He said individuals can push back against efforts to monitor their online lives, or at least help ensure such programs are justified.

    “With any of these large-scale surveillance activities, social media monitoring including, it’s important transparency, oversight and accountability are implemented, and there are mechanisms in place that ensure there is not a disparate impact with the use of social media monitoring,” he said.

    With no policy guiding the the Louisville police department’s surveillance of social media, it’s unclear just how they do it. No regulations dictate who they monitor, what they monitor or why.

    And the department has provided no details on what justifies a profile or post being collected, how long the information is stored and who has access to the data.

    The lack of oversight is “troubling” to the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.

    Widespread monitoring of social media by police can lead to the collection and storage of “innocent people’s personal data,” and how that data may be used is reason for concern, said Amber Duke, spokeswoman for the ACLU of Kentucky.

    “Social media is, among other things, a driver for political conversation and activism,” she said. “Constitutionally protected speech shouldn’t make one a target for surveillance.”

    Metro Councilman David James

    Metro Councilman David James

    James, the councilman, said he supports the police effort to keep watch on social media users.

    “Public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of government, and this is just another tool in the toolbox,” he said.

    James also said he doesn’t believe LMPD needs a policy to guide its surveillance effort.

    “Why do you want to put more restrictions on the police than are on the general public? The general public can do the same thing,” he said. “They’re just looking at stuff that’s already out there.”

    Walter Lamar, a former FBI agent and one-time senior adviser to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s office of law enforcement and security, said it’s difficult to argue against the need for a surveillance tool that can help law enforcement prevent crime or save a life.

    “They’re just patrolling in a different venue, looking for criminal activity, looking for activity that might pose a threat or danger to the community,” said Lamar.

    Burbank, of the Center for Policing Equity, said keeping the public out of such efforts can erode public trust in law enforcement.

    “They have to write policy,” he said. “You can’t have a tool this strong and this powerful and this potentially invasive without some sort of policy.”

    This story was reported by our affiliated newsroom, 89.3 WFPL News.


    From Growing Tobacco to Growing Hemp

    Jane Harrod, a farmer in Kentucky, talks about transitioning to a different crop after the U.S. soured on cigarettes.

    Image result for kentucky hemp

    Bourree Lam


    Since the 1960s, the number of Americans who smoke has decreased significantly; in 1965, more than 40 percent of adults reported smoking, compared to around 17 percent in 2014. During that same period, tobacco production has dropped precipitously as well.

    Still, in 2012, the U.S. produced some 800 million pounds of tobacco, and Kentucky—the state with the second-largest tobacco harvest in the U.S. (North Carolina’s comes in first)—is responsible for almost a quarter of that output. Yet even in Kentucky, tobacco farming has waned, forcing many farmers to look into other crops.

    Jane Harrod runs a small farm in Kentucky. Her family used to grow tobacco, but she’s since switched over to growing hemp, a somewhat controversial plant—what with the federal ban on marijuana and medical marijuana still being illegal in Kentucky—that the state is currently testing out with pilot programs. For The Atlantic’s ongoing series of interviews with American workers, I talked to Harrod about her family farm, the recession, and why she decided to shift production to hemp. The interview that follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.


    We could probably be called hippies at the time. We weren’t big spenders; we grew our own food and raised our two daughters there in Owen County. There were a lot of young people that had moved into the area, because the farmland was cheap. We had an intentional-community situation where we had like-minded people set up a feed co-op and do tobacco together with other crops.


    P3 update delivered to state lawmakers at Kentucky Horse Park


    Image result for kentucky horse park


    For Immediate Release

    October 20, 2016

    P3 update delivered to state lawmakers at Kentucky Horse Park

    LEXINGTON—Three attorneys from different state government agencies gave lawmakers a look today at how Kentucky’s new public-private partnership law will be put to use.

    The attorneys—one from the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, one from the Finance and Administration Cabinet and one from the Transportation Cabinet—explained that long-term partnerships allowed under 2016 House Bill 309 will combine private investment and public resources to meet state and local government needs. Other states have used P3s to improve schools, water systems, bridges, state parks and more.

    The testimony was offered today at the Kentucky Horse Park during a meeting of the General Assembly’s Labor and Industry Committee, the Economic Development and Tourism Committee, and the Special Committee on Tourism Development.

    With over $100-plus million in maintenance needs at Kentucky’s state parks, public-private partnerships, known as P3s, are expected to help reduce the parks’ deferred maintenance while employing a strict system of check and balances built into HB 309, said Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet General Counsel Leigh Powers.

    “We’re not selling off state parks. We’re finding ways to make them better,” said Powers. The framework for P3s proposals, both solicited by agencies and unsolicited, will ensure that “the Commonwealth gets what it bargained for,” she told lawmakers.

    A handout provided by all three attorneys explained when P3s should be used and what considerations should be taken into account before approval for a P3 is given. Some of those considerations include benefits gained or not gained, timeliness and risk. McLain explained additional considerations for transportation P3s includes, but is not limited to, compliance with federal requirements and investment-grade credit ratings.

    The attorneys also explained that approved P3s must be part of competitive negotiation—meaning the contract will be awarded to a “responsible and responsive” party, per the handout. The handling of unsolicited proposals—P3 proposals that are not sought by the state or local government agency and instead independently generated, for example—will also include a 30-day waiting period for the proposal and 90 days of public notice before further action can be taken, with procedures differing slightly for transportation projects.

    Neither Powers or Finance and Administration Cabinet General Counsel Gwen Pinson shared details on P3s that may be pending in their respective agencies, although both said proposals have been received. Assistant General Counsel Megan McLain also did not offer info on any specific proposals. 

    Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, who cosponsored HB 309 with House Majority Caucus Chair Sannie Overly, D-Paris, said the framework the new law provides is considered “the most transparent in the country.” She said HB 309 makes Kentucky one of around only seven states with such comprehensive P3 legislation that can be used for a wide range of public needs, said Combs.

    “I do believe that as we said earlier, this is an opportunity for us to acquire infrastructure services across the Commonwealth. This is a new vehicle, a new financing tool,” she said.

    The joint meeting of the committees also included an overview of what’s happening at the Kentucky Horse Park from park director Laura Prewitt and an update from AT&T Kentucky on infrastructure and investments made following the passage of 2015 HB 152. That was the telephone deregulation measure sponsored by House budget chairman Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, which AT&T says has spurred telecom modernization in the state.

    Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, who had proposed telephone deregulation legislation in prior sessions, said HB 152 has accomplished much of what it was designed to do. Hornback said the legislation is designed to move Kentucky forward by “making sure we didn’t have outdated regulations in place.”