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Oppose Bills That Will Limit Civilian Oversight of Police Departments

Feb 21, 2021 | Blog, Racial Justice & Equity, Take action

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, the Indiana State Senate Committee on Corrections & Criminal Law, will hear three bills that would negatively impact existing civilian oversight structures for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), by reducing civilian input and allowing police officers to disregard the use of force policies set at the local level.
Senate Bill 168 – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department
Eliminates existing civilian oversight structures for IMPD and places full department administration in the hands of a five-member state board with four members appointed by the Governor.

Senate Bill 394 – Police Department Administration
Gives the chief of a city police department, or a town board of metropolitan police commissioners, the sole authority to make general orders or establish the department’s procedures and policies, including around the use of force. This bill is a direct assault on the new IMPD General Orders Board created in late 2020 by the Indianapolis City-County Council.

Senate Bill 311 – Use of Force
Allow police officers to use force options (such as chokeholds) that are not in the department’s use of force policy and disregard any use of force policies set in certain situations. This bill would provide law enforcement officers a blanket affirmative defense if they used force outside of their department’s policies.

All three of these bills are a blatant attempt by the Indiana General Assembly to supersede policies adopted by duly elected members of the Indianapolis City-County Council, and reverse the advocacy of many of our community partners, to provide greater civilian oversight of IMPD.
Please contact members of the Corrections & Criminal Law Committee and urge them to vote NO on SB 168, SB 394, and SB 311!