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INDIANAPOLIS – Officials at the Indiana Statehouse are keeping policing a priority this session, trying to implement recommended changes to improve law enforcement training.

State Sen. Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) has introduced a bill that would expand the state’s Law Enforcement Training Board to include more civilians, or people outside law enforcement.

“That board is important in making sure that the standards that are in place across the state related to training, hiring are standardized and uniform,” Crider said.

Indiana’s Law Enforcement Training Board currently consists of 17 members. Crider’s bill would add four new positions for civilians.

“It does give you the opportunity to have more perspectives at the table,” Crider said. “And those are important.”

Under the proposal, a few law enforcement positions currently on the board would be eventually replaced with civilians, Crider said.

The expansion of the board is part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s 2022 agenda.

“We’ll have more input on a statewide basis to make sure that we’re operating most efficiently and with equity always in mind,” Holcomb said earlier this week.

“The Law Enforcement Training Board welcomes input from our Hoosier communities as well as our law enforcement partners,” Timothy Horty, executive director of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, said in a statement. “Expanding the membership of our Board is a positive step in the right direction.”

The proposal is one of several changes in the works following a third-party review of Indiana’s state-level law enforcement agencies last year.

Among the recommendations: more specific statewide standards for police training. That includes curriculum on subjects like implicit bias and de-escalation.

“Training is key for the success of any law enforcement agency,” said Deputy Chief Gary Woodruff of the Lawrence Police Department.

Woodruff said he believes more community input – at both the state and local levels – is critical to improving policing.

“Our profession as a whole needs to continue to evolve and meet the expectations of the citizens we serve,” Woodruff said.