Council proposes changes to IMPD’s policy-making structure in latest push for police reform

Politics

INDIANAPOLIS, — Seventeen City-County councilors have co-sponsored Proposal 237, which if passed into law, would make fundamental changes to the way IMPD’s policies are created and passed.

The measure replaces the current General Orders Committee with a board comprised of three officers chosen by IMPD and four civilians — two selected by the mayor and two selected by the council president.

“We are not adversaries of the police department,” Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr. said. “We are in-fact allies. What we want is that there would be unity among communities of color and communities that are under served.”

Sullivan Jr. and Faith in Indiana — a group that says it works for a more equitable society — stood alongside councilors Keith Potts and Crista Carlino for a news conference Monday. They support Proposal 237 and said this move is an example indicating Indianapolis is making progress on combating racial inequality.

“Our presence here today is evidence that the needle is not where it was,” Pastor Clyde Posley said.

Carlino likened the creation of this board to the way a school board relates to a school’s administration. Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder said the FOP welcomes citizen involvement, but he has serious concerns about this proposal. He released this statement:

We always welcome civilian engagement in providing community perspectives when formulating policies for community policing efforts. This would be an excellent opportunity to create a Civilian Advisory Board for IMPD General Orders.

However, it is concerning that some individual Councillors want to strip the legal authority of the Chief of Police to establish policy for the IMPD.

This is a fundamental responsibility for the Executive branch of local government which carries out the responsibilities of policing for our city and instead blurs the lines of accountability for such decisions.

Such a proposal leaves the policies of the police department up to a politically appointed group thereby allowing elected officials to bypass their responsibilities for the safety of our community.

Furthermore, it is disheartening to see this proposal at such a critical time for our city which gives the appearance that some City-County councilors have lost faith in the current Chief of Police to effectively oversee policy and manage the police department.

We look forward to see if the Mayor holds the same perspective on his appointed Chief of Police.

Snyder

IMPD said they are also looking at the proposal and will engage in further conversation.

Proposal 237 is the latest in several measures the council has implemented or considered since the beginning of 2020. The council tasked all public city and county agencies to present a plan to eliminate racial inequalities within their departments.

In June, councilors moved to declare racism a public health emergency. On August 10, City-County councilors adopted changes to the citizens police complaint board. IMPD is also working with the general orders committee on the use of force review board.

“What we’re seeing is a really direct conversation between our community and our elected officials about the centuries old problem of systemically racist policies and deeply rooted in insidious, systemic racism,” Potts said.

Below is the full proposal:

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