Indy FOP pledges up to $25K for education campaign about "do's and don'ts" of police stops

Posted at 2:39 PM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-23 14:40:21-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police says it is pledging up to $25,000 for a campaign aimed at educating the public about the “do’s and don’ts” of police encounters.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon addressing the recent decision by the Civilian Police Merit Board in the Aaron Bailey shooting, FOP President Rick Snyder urged city leaders to change their focus from the structure of the board to “more positive and proactive steps.”

Earlier this month, the merit board cleared IMPD Officers Carlton Howard and Michael Dinnsen of wrongdoing in Bailey’s fatal shooting.

Since that decision, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili, both Democrats, have offered competing proposals that would change the makeup of the merit board.

READ MORE | Councilors call for city leaders to ‘be silent,’ listen to rank-and-file IMPD officers & community | Civilian Merit Board clears IMPD officers in Aaron Bailey shooting in 5-2 vote

Those proposals include staggering the terms of merit board members’ terms so that incoming mayors will be able to have a more immediate effect on the board’s makeup.

On Wednesday, Snyder said that would be a mistake – saying that the existing merit board structure was a key demand during the 1960s Civil Rights movement.

“Politics has no role in policing,” Snyder said. “We do not believe that any changes are needed. The system is designed, intentionally, to overlap mayoral elections so that politics cannot influence policing.”

Snyder also criticized what he described as Hogsett’s lack of engagement since the merit board’s decision.

“Short of the initial statements he made following the merit board decision, he’s been absent,” Snyder said. “For whatever reason.”

ALSO READ | City attorney who presented Aaron Bailey case to merit board to leave job

The main purpose of Wednesday’s press conference was for Snyder to announce a series of initiatives the FOP will pursue in the coming months. Those initiatives include:

Up to $25,000 from the FOP for a public education, prevention and awareness campaign about police stops;

Drafting a bill for the next legislative session that would have the BMV provide training on safe traffic stops;

Partnering with the OneCOP (One Congregation One Precinct) initiative to invite faith-based institutions to get involved in education about police interactions and to increase community engagement.

Snyder said the FOP felt it was important to provide the initial funding for the awareness campaign to prime the pump. The FOP is calling their whole package of initiatives the #ThinkBigger campaign.

“It’s an opportunity for everyone to stop pointing fingers at each other and figure out how to come together,” Snyder said.

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