After overdoses, reentry facility says IMPD needs feds' OK for 'proactive patrols'

Posted at 3:55 PM, Mar 23, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS -- A downtown reentry facility where four inmates overdosed Tuesday night says IMPD will have to get the OK from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons before officers can conduct proactive patrols inside.

Officers showed up at Brandon Hall at 611 N. Capitol Avenue around 2 a.m. Friday hoping to conduct proactive patrols of the facility.

Earlier this week, four Brandon Hall inmates overdosed between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning on suspected synthetic marijuana smuggled into the facility.

READ MORE | Four overdoses linked to suspected K2, aka 'spice,' at downtown reentry facility

The facility is run by the Volunteers of America under a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. According to Stephanie Aubill, communications manager for VOA Indiana, that contract prohibits local law enforcement from entering the facility in non-emergency situations without prior authorization from the BOP.

Aubill said that, since IMPD hadn’t received authorization from the BOP to enter the facility, VOA’s “hands were tied.”

“How it typically works is, for non-emergency situations, a formal request either has to be made through the U.S. Probations Office or through the U.S. Bureau of Prisons,” Aubill said. “It didn’t have anything to do necessarily with not wanting to cooperate – it’s that there wasn’t communication beforehand. We couldn’t do anything about it.”

IMPD Sgt. Chris Wilburn said officers understood the situation, and that there wasn’t any animosity about the denial.

“It’s still a business,” Wilburn said. “It’s still private property, and we try to never infringe upon that – especially when it comes to their constitutional rights. That being said, we’re always trying to come up with new and inventive ways to be proactive and mitigate crime at the root cause.”

Aubill said the facility’s internal investigation into the overdoses remains ongoing. Volunteers of America’s vice president of operations told RTV6 earlier this week that Tuesday’s incident was the worst overdose situation at the facility he can remember.

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