By Russ McQuaid | Fox 59
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Civilian Police Merit Board heard from two community members, one of them an IMPD officer, on proposed changes to the department’s disciplinary matrix for officers.
“It allows for each disciplinary system or each disciplinary incident to be evaluated on its own merits,” said Deputy Chief Kendale Adams who led the department’s fine tuning of its disciplinary process.
“This disciplinary system gives the chief the ability to elevate much higher for an egregious offense. Conversely, it also gives the agency the opportunity to mitigate minor behavior.”
For the most serious offenses and penalties, the chief recommends disciplinary action, including termination, but it is the Merit Board that has the final say.
“I do think that we’ve made a concerted effort to contact those constituencies which have the greatest degree of expertise in this area,” said Merit Board President Frank Sullivan after the sparsely attended meeting.
“We’ve gone to see the new General Orders Board and talked to its members about it. We’ve gone to the Civilian Police Complaint Board and talked to its members about it and, as you’ve heard, members of the community have talked as well.”
Along with the newly impaneled Use of Force Board, members of the community now contribute significant oversight to IMPD regulations, discipline, and actions.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said Josh Riddick of Faith in Indiana which assumed a greater voice calling for improved community-IMPD communication and relations in the wake of the Dreasjon Reed case and the summer of protests in 2020.
“We have a longer look back period on disciplinary actions. We have escalating disciplinary procedures that are in place. There has to be better public data around arrests that are being done by officers so the community can see that and it’s being tracked in a public way.”
Riddick said he is heartened by IMPD’s commitment to transparency in the wake of public protests nearly two years ago.
“The door is opening for a greater sense of relationality, a greater sense of communication,” he said. “The door for those changes is open in a way that I’m not sure has been in the past.”
The Merit Board will accept public comment on the changes before its final vote February 1st.
Individuals are welcome to comment in writing on these changes by emailing IMPD_Planning@indy.gov by noon on January 31.