INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Five senate Republicans revealed measures they are proposing which they hope will make an impact on crime in Marion County. With more than 250 homicides, they are joining the fight against the violence.
Senate Bill 6, authored by Senator R. Michael Young (R-Indianapolis), aims at reducing the number of people accused of violent crimes who are released on bail by requiring judges to review the arrest warrants and probable cause affidavits before setting bond.
“It has to be done in open court, on a record so every member of the public, we know what these judges have done, what they said and what the state has done,” Young said.
If passed, Young’s bill also prohibits judges from lowering bonds below what the county bond matrix requires. And, the senator’s proposal requires people charged with violent crimes to pay the full cash bond, not surety.
“They’re not going to get a cash bond anymore and they’re not going to get a surety bond anymore,” Young said. “It’s going to have to be cash. They can’t get it from a third party unless it’s a close family member. So that $20,000, if they want to get out on bail, they better have the $20,000 cash or they better have a family member that’s got it.”
Senator Kyle Walker’s (R-Lawrence) proposal calls for a ratio of one staffer to 29 clients on electronic monitoring, for both pre-trial and post-conviction release. Senate Bill 9 calls for increasing penalties for those who tamper with their monitors.
“It establishes a penalty for anyone that cuts off their ankle monitor or renders it inoperable in any other way,” Walker explained. “It would limit their ability to go back onto ankle monitoring and it would also eliminate their ability to have bail.”
Walker’s bill also allows victims to be quickly notified if a person wearing a monitor leaves the location where they are designated to stay.
“If they cut off their ankle monitor, within 15 minutes both the victim, if there’s a victim in the case, the victim would be notified as would law enforcement,” Walker said. “That would then start the clock so that law enforcement would have another 15 minutes to dispatch to go and try to find that offender.”
Senator Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) is proposing a bill that would regulate charitable bail organizations. They would be required to register with the Department of Insurance, and they would be prohibited from bailing out anyone charged with a felony.
“They’ll only be able to do it for misdemeanors and capped at $2,000 bonds,” Freeman explained.
Freeman’s bill also prohibits organizations that get taxpayer dollars from paying bail.
“Under no circumstances should public tax dollars be used to bond criminals out of jail, and if bail is paid by a nonprofit organization, that money should go toward court administrative costs and be deducted from what is returned.”
Senator Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) authored Senate Bill 10 which establishes a pilot program, operated by the Criminal Justice Institute, to distribute additional funds to high-crime areas to cover overtime and more services for law enforcement.
“If the law enforcement entity can demonstrate violent crime, at least 35% higher in a specific area, it’s defined in the bill as a census tract or a combination of census tracts, they could apply for grant funding to help them address that crime,” Crider explained.
Senator Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) proposed Senate Bill 7 which, if passed, establishes a Marion County crime reduction board that allows for “interoperability” between law enforcement agencies.
“It will bring law enforcement agencies from the state and federal and local level together, primarily under the direction of IMPD to take a look at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, to make us a better Indianapolis,” Sandlin said.
Among those standing with the senators today include Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder, Indiana Fraternal Order of Police President William Owensby, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings and Daviess County Prosecutor Dan Murrie – both members of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council’s Legislative Committee.
Lawmakers will hear these bills on January 11.