Faith leaders propose citizens help change Indianapolis police policies

By Aleah Hordges, WISH TV 8 (Indianapolis)
Sept. 14, 2020

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Members of Faith in Indiana want citizens to oversee all policies within the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.

Proposal 237 before the Indianapolis City-County Council would appoint four citizens to the General Order Committee. Faith leaders presented the proposal to councilors Monday evening. Councilor Leroy Robinson, chair of the council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee, plans to hold a standalone committee meeting to give the proposal a full hearing, according to a city news release.

Councilor Keith Potts said Mayor Joe Hogsett will appoint two citizens, and the council will select two others. The four would join the current General Order Committee led by three police officers. Faith In Indiana members said law enforcement is the only city agency that does not have a public governance body.

“Proposition 237 is not an indictment of the police but rather an opportunity for the police to include those who they say they hear and want to protect and serve,” said the Rev. Clyde Posley, a Faith in Indiana clergy leader with Antoich Baptist Church.

IMPD now has a citizens’ complaint board to review incidents of police misconduct. Faith in Indiana clergy have been pushing their LIVE Free Reform since July. It has seven initiatives they want to see changed within IMPD: the department’s discipline policy and the de-escalation and procedural justice training to name a few.

Councilor Krista Carlino said Proposal 237 would be the first expanded general order board in the nation.

“It’s a historic moment not only for our city but also for our nation. It is our hope not only our city not only moves forward, but that our nation looks toward Indianapolis as a model for reform and partnership with law enforcement across our nation,” Carlino said.

IMPD has recently adopted new use of force policies, such as the use of less lethal force. Some people tell News 8 having citizens oversee polices is a good idea.

“Especially if they’re looking from the outside in can they pretty much provide a better knowledge to handle different situations especially with police brutality,” said Indianapolis resident Rashida Parker.

Other people believe Proposal 237 would be beneficial depending on how citizens are chosen.

Indianapolis resident Scott Harris said, “I would be concerned if the citizens were coming in might have a biased and already be kind of anti-cops when they’re coming in and already have a goal in mind.”

Councilors Potts and Carlino said 17 councilor favor passage of Proposal 327, which will need to be assigned to a committee for review before the full council can vote on it.

Statements

“With an expanded community-based beat policing model and additional resources recently dedicated to units focused on violent crime, IMPD officers continue to work every day to build bridges of trust with our community and address the violence impacting our neighborhoods. And in recent months, IMPD has reformed the department’s Use of Force policy, banned the use of No-Knock Warrants, and committed to the creation of a Use of Force Review Board with citizen participation.

“IMPD plans to review the proposal submitted by the City-County Council tonight, and engage in continued conversation in the days and weeks to come.”

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

“I do not support a civilians panel running IMPD & setting policy. This civilian panel is not accountable to the residents of Indy. The police chief should be running IMPD & setting policies for the department. I do not support what the city county council is proposing tonight.

“We as voters elect a mayor to select a police chief to run the police department. As voters we have the power to hold the mayor accountable when the police behave in ways that are not acceptable to voters, because the mayor is an elected official.”

The Rev. Charles Harrison, leader of Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, on Twitter

News Release

“Indianapolis—Following an afternoon press conference in which members of Faith in Indiana and the local community expressed support for a proposal that would create civilian oversight of IMPD’s general orders process, Indianapolis City-County Councillors Potts (District 2) and Carlino (District 6) formally introduced a proposed ordinance that would do just that.

“Proposal 237 would replace IMPD’s current General Orders Committee, comprised of three law enforcement officers, to a General Orders Board that would incorporate four civilian appointees. If enacted, the Council and the Mayor’s Office would appoint two civilians each to the board. The newly formed General Orders Board will oversee all rules and policies that govern the use of police powers, including use of force, arrests, investigations, and other official police actions.

“Councillor Potts says the proposal is not only a reaction to the local and national conversation on law enforcement and community relations, but a natural progression of the Council’s February 2020 commitment to addressing “historical inequities of race, place and identity” throughout the City-County government. ‘Proposal 237 represents an unequivocal and unapologetic determination to prioritize the ‘public’ in our city’s ‘public safety’, and is a monumental next step toward a more equitable Indianapolis.’

“Councillor Carlino concurred, saying ‘This ordinance is a community-led effort to give the community a seat at the table where decisions about law enforcement policies are made. I am so grateful to Faith in Indiana and all the community members who stepped forward to lead the creation of this change.’

“Council President Vop Osili welcomed the community engagement involved in drafting Proposal 237, saying, ‘this is how equity is built: by diversifying the voices in these critical conversations and creating meaningful leadership opportunities in our city’s boardrooms and governing bodies.’

“Proposal 237 received broad support among the Council, with 15 Councillors joining Potts and Carlino as co-sponsors. Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee Chair Leroy Robinson plans to hold a standalone committee meeting to give the proposal a full hearing.”

“Councillors to introduce proposal to incorporate community oversight of IMPD” issued night of Sept. 14, 2020

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