Ministers call for IMPD changes on eve of meeting

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 19, 2016)-- IMPD Chief Troy Riggs is set to talk with leaders of the faith-based community Wednesday in an open meeting that was scheduled before the recent fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a police officer.

The 1 p.m. briefing at the Regional Operations Center comes while several clergy members have called for increased police transparency after Kevin Hicks died fighting with an officer for control of his weapon April 5 at a northeast side convenience store.

During a press conference Monday, Pastor Douglas Tate, Jr., of the Inter-denominational President’s Council said more effective ethnic and racial sensitivity training of IMPD officers would alleviate many tensions between the police force and the community it patrols.

Tate listed the Council’s recommendations to, “raise awareness of implicit bias among police leaders and officers, transform the conversation between police and the community, and put policies in place that will limit the painful and sometimes deadly impact of implicit biases.

“All of us are human,” he said, “and we are innately born with some prejudices and some biases that we may not be aware of and so we’re finding that some of these lopsided shootings where it looks like the community is coming out on the short end more and more, we believe that the police…the implicit biases training will minimize and help curb some of these painful sometimes deadly shootings.”

This past weekend at the site of an eastside homicide, residents blatantly violated police crime scene tape to enter the evidence area while other bystanders shouted their dislike of IMPD and offered opinions as to why officers are shot.

“We are also aware of the small segment of our community that sees themselves as foes to the police, they disrespect, dishonor and distrust,” acknowledged Tate. “Sometimes that brings on some bad confrontations.”

While IMPD doesn’t teach a specific implicit bias curriculum as other departments have nationwide, the commander overseeing the department’s training said the academy’s doors are open to clergy and members of the community who often share their life experiences with Metro police veterans and recruits.

IMPD Training Commander Major James Cleek has attended implicit bias training in other cities and said some of the elements are already being replicated in Metro Police Academy classes.

When ministers meet with Chief Riggs Wednesday, they will receive a briefing on IMPD’s homicide solve and officer shooting rates, a report on IMPD’s hiring history, a primer on the police complaint review process and invitations to participate in the department’s Chief for a Day and clergy ridealong programs.

While the Inter-denominational President’s Council called for more IMPD transparency, including a policy on the release of video evidence in active police action shooting investigations while excluding the release of a shooting suspect’s criminal history and an officer’s disciplinary record, the ministers attending the ROC briefing have asked to meet with Riggs behind closed doors outside of the presence of reporters to discuss certain issues.

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