Indy FOP President calls for legislative change amid record-breaking violence

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the increasing violence and the record-breaking number of homicides in Indianapolis.

This comes after two IMPD officers were stabbed on the north side of Indianapolis early Wednesday morning.

“We are grateful for all the prayers and contacts that we have received from members throughout the community: residents, business owners, media personnel, other community leaders,” said FOP President Rick Snyder. “This was another senseless act of violence that has occurred in the city of Indianapolis.”

Snyder, along with Indy TenPoint President Reverend Charles Harrison, announced several different considerations for Indiana legislation for the next session.

”I’m begging our state legislators, our governor and other state leaders to take a proactive role in this,” Said Snyder.

Harrison echoed this call, adding they need to come together as a city.

“We need a city wide plan focused on stopping the bleeding,” said Harrison.

In part, Snyder said he’s calling on state legislators to make these changes because local leaders have not.

”Our local leadership refuses to take the necessary actions to intervene and prevent many of these tragedies,” he said.

A majority of the legislative suggestions Snyder and Harrison went over involved bail reform, changes they say would help stop the “revolving door of violence” in Indianapolis.

The first action Snyder listed off at the Wednesday press conference called for required judicial review of probable cause affidavits before determining the bond and terms of release. Snyder said this seems simple but said they’ve found it to not always be the case.

”Instead, what we have identified is that our magistrates in our judges are simply working off of the charges that are listed on the arrest report,” Snyder said.

Snyder is also asking for the legislature to look at preventing automatic bond for repeat offenders and place regulations over nonprofit bail organizations. He said once they bond a suspect, they have no requirements to get the person back to court.

”And if that suspect fails to appears or re-offend while out on their bond, there’s no accountability for them,” Snyder said.

Snyder said he and others have met with lawmakers to work on getting bills written to address these ideas.

State Sen. Jack Sandlin, R-Indianpolis, who is also a member of FOP #86, said he expects bills involving some of the topics Snyder discussed to be brought up this session.

”We’re looking at a package of five or six different issues, certainly the bail issue would be one of them,” he said.

Sandlin said he’s confident these bills will be brought up this session.

”We’ll be talking with Senate and House leadership as well as local leadership to see where the most impact might be able to be had,” Sandlin said.

We reached out to Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office, the City-County Council and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for a response to Snyder and Harrison’s comments.

The Mayor’s Office sent us back this statement:

“I’ll refer you to Mayor Hogsett’s $150 million plan to invest in law enforcement, grassroots violence reduction, and root causes, which was made possible by American Rescue Plan Act funding unanimously passed by the City-County Council in September.

The plan includes record spending for 100 new police officers, $9 million for modern police technology, 50 community-oriented Peacemakers, $45 million for grassroots organizations, $30 million for mental health resources, and more. The comprehensive approach was created through collaboration with law enforcement and criminal justice partners, reflecting the needs and priorities of community members.”

A spokesperson for the Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears said Mears has in the past supported the idea of requiring judicial review of probable cause affidavits before determining the bond and terms of release.

We have not heard back from the City-County Council or Marion Superior Court yet.

Here is a full list of the legislative actions Snyder and Harrison are calling for:

  • Require judicial review of probable cause affidavits before determining the bond and terms of release.
  • Preventing automatic bonds for repeat offenders.
  • Changing the law to define Level 6 Felonies as violent felonies.
  • Requiring communication between county jails to maintain holds on arrestees with pending charges or post-conviction requirements.
  • Formalize regulations for nonprofit bail organizations that are comparative to for-profit bail entities, regulating the funding for them and/or prohibiting charitable bail for felonies similar to other states where it’s enacted, such as New York and Texas.
  • Form a Commission of Criminal Justice Outcomes that brings stakeholders to the table.

There are plans to discuss the considerations more in detail, however, FOP claims that this is a start to allow longer-term steps to address disparate outcomes in areas such as mental health and addiction.

“As we often say, we as officers know all too well the pain and suffering that our fellow residents, our fellow neighbors are also suffering during this surge in crime and violence,” Snyder said.

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