INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD's Minority Police Officers’ Association (MPOA) unveiled the department's first Black History Month (BHM) badge.
The design was approved by Chief Randall Taylor last year for all metro police officers to wear as an option during February, with majority of officers using their own money to pay for them. However, officers won't receive the badges until the end of February.
IMPD's MOPA submitted the order on December 21, 2023, but unfortunately, the Indy Public Safety Foundation did not place the order until last week.
The Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance said this mishap opened a bigger conversation about diversity within the department.
"I think what's going to be significant and important is to take times like this with Education and history. If it hadn't been for Commander Williams enlightening me and I've been here all my life. I didn't know the history of so if we can educate our young people and enlighten them here's what black police officers have meant in Indianapolis, here's what they've accomplished.” Rev. Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr., Senior Pastor of Eastern Star Church said.
WRTV’s Amber Grigley asked Interim Chief Chris Bailey about plans for officers to wear badges beyond BHM due to the delay.
"I ordered my badge and I don't know that they'll be here in time so I would love the opportunity to wear it. So, that's a conversation I'll have with many people around the agency to see what the right step forward is," Bailey said.
IMPD said 88 badges have been ordered and the Indy Public Safety Foundation is working with the manufacturer to expedite the delivery.
Below you will find a statement from IMPD regarding the Black History Month Badge:
Each year, IMPD strives to find new ways to honor and commemorate the legacy of African American law enforcement officials and their service during Black History Month.
This year, Chief Taylor asked the Minority Police Officers Association (MPOA) for some ideas that would recognize our Black officers, detectives and investigators on the department. Chief Taylor was asked his thoughts on adding an alternate badge to recognize contributions of African American officers. The MPOA voted and agreed to move the project forward.
Chief Taylor approved a badge design that officers could purchase as an option and wear during February as an alternate to the standard IMPD badge. The badge is meant to be a reminder of the sacrifices and achievements of the city’s first African American officers, acting as a physical connection between IMPD’s history, present, and future.
As with any new and novel initiatives, there were unexpected delays that came up after an order was received. IMPD’s Human Resources had to review and verify every order to ensure an officer’s badge and rank was accurate before it was submitted. Those who purchased a badge were notified it typically would take between 6-8 weeks to cast.
As of today, a total of 88 badges have been ordered and the Indy Public Safety Foundation is working with the manufacturer to expedite the delivery.
At no point were IMPD officers told they could not wear the badge. Acting Chief Bailey and IMPD leadership have supported this badge from the beginning and look forward to it celebrating the efforts of Black officers who once were and still are part of this agency.