INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Friday announced the creation of a Use of Force Review Board as part of the broader approval of an updated policy on use of force reporting and investigations.
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said the new board will have the authority to review uses of force by an IMPD officer, whether a physical altercation, deployment of a stun gun, or the use of a firearm.
"As policing evolves across the country, we are updating our policies to reflect national best practices and better protect our officers and the citizens of Indianapolis. Officers are attending training to receive these updates, while still remaining focused on building community trust and impacting violence in our neighborhoods," Taylor said. "The Use of Force Review Board will bring civilians into the room as we evaluate officer use of force, helping us to better understand our community's expectations for how we serve. We are committed to transparency, continued adjustments in our policies and training as they are needed, and accountability to our community."
The new board will be similar to the existing Firearms Review Board, police said. Consistent with the Merit Law, the new board will not have the authority to recommend discipline but will instead make an advisory finding which will be limited to determining whether the officer's actions were within departmental policy.
When the Use of Force Review Board is ready to review incidents, it will replace the Firearms Review Board, and will conduct a mandatory hearing for any use of deadly force against a person. The chief of police will have final authority to recommend discipline, subject to the oversight of the Civilian Police Merit Board.
Indy10 Black Lives Matter issued the following statement about the creation of the IMPD Use of Force Review Board:
Since its inception, Indy10 has been vocal about community members being involved in matters of transparency and accountability from elected officials and IMPD. The Use of Force Board's decision to hold a civilian majority of five residents to four officers is a testament to the power of public pressure, and though the chief of police has final say for disciplinary measures, this is a milestone: the public being involved in public safety.
We encourage residents to continue participating in direct action ranging from protests to email blasts to effect change. We have nothing to lose but our chains.
"The creation of the IMPD Use of Force Review Board is another substantive step twoard increased transparency and enhanced trust between the community and our local law enforcement," Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said. "By adding another layer of accountability — with strong civilian participation — we can ensure that the fine men and women of the IMPD live up to the high expectations of the department and the community they serve."
The new Use of Force Review Board will be made up of merit-ranked officers as well as civilian members with the following makeup:
- The captain of the IMPD Training Academy
- One lieutenant appointed by the Deputy Chief of Oversight, Audit, and Performance
- One peer officer assigned to the division of the officer(s) involved in the event, but not in the same branch or district, to be appointed by the Assistant Chief
- One officer nominated by majority vote of the sworn members of the department
- Two civilian members nominated by the Mayor of Indianapolis
- Three civilian members nominated by the President of the City-County Council
According to police, the civilian members must not have been formerly employed by a police department, may not have immediate family members who are presently or were formerly employed by a police department, and may not have a felony conviction.
Prior to appointment, civilian members will be required to complete training that covers use of force, IMPD general orders, applicable Merit Laws, and the IMPD training curriculum, as well as participate in 24 hours of ride-alongs and graduate from the Citizen's Police Academy. Continuing education will also be required.