INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metro Police Department is proposing changes to how officers are disciplined.
Tuesday night, the Indianapolis Civilian Police Merit Board held a hearing to get feedback and input on those changes. It was a chance for the public to have a say in the process.
However, they did not get many comments from the community. Samantha Douglas, a far east side resident, was one of two people who spoke during public comment.
"You have to be here. You have to get involved. You have to be educated about these things," Douglas said. "We need more people here. I was one of the only residents here."
Douglas spoke to the board, telling them they need to do a better job of publicizing when they're having hearings. It's something the merit board say they'll work on. She'd also like to see hearings that are more accessible to the public held in different locations and times.
Douglas came to the meeting because she says whatever the merit board decides will have a big impact on her community. She's the vice president for the Far East Side Community Council.
"I live in a majority minority community; We know that minority communities are mostly impacted by these situations and the merit board carries a lot of power in what happens to officers especially when something happens," Douglas said. "We're making sure that the right people are policing our streets and neighborhoods and making sure the ones who don't need to be out there are dealt with accordingly."
As far as changes in the language surrounding the IMPD disciplinary process, Douglas wants the rules to be clearer.
"I don't like when they use words like reasonable. Who decides what's reasonable for use of force or things like that? That's one of the first things I'd like to see them address," she said.
As the meeting wrapped up, Douglas was able to ask more questions with plans to share what she learned with her community. She stresses again the importance of the public being involved in this process
"I know we have lives that are already so full. I'm a wife, mother of four. I get it but these things impact the neighborhood, communities our children grow up in, that we grow old in and having an impact in how these things play out is so important," Douglas said.
The Indianapolis Civilian Merit Board says they're not going to vote on the proposed IMPD disciplinary changes until after the new year.
They're encouraging the community to look over the changes and send them comments, questions, or concerns. Those comments can be sent to IMPD_Planning@indy.gov.