INDIANAPOLIS — The calls for change came from the people and protests on the streets of Indianapolis in May 2020.
There were clashes of ideas and voices demanding that power brokers find new ways to deal with critical issues, especially the relationship between the public and police.
Since the summer of 2020, IMPD has made major changes to improve transparency and accountability. The department issued General Order 132 listing the dos and don'ts of using a Taser or chemical sprays. General Order 130 and its five pages detail the new expectations, including the appropriate use of force and no chokeholds.
"We took away the chokeholds. We don't train chokeholds. I won't say that chokeholds didn't necessarily occur, but it wasn't part of the policy," IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.
Taylor has also overseen the deployment of body-worn cameras. He also created a system in which select members of the public see body cam videos of police-involved shootings and provide input before they are released.
Civilians will also have critical roles in reviewing police-related shootings and in creating the policies that drive the department.
"Our department is well trained," Taylor said. "Our officers are fantastic, so I'm not worried about some civilians looking at it. We are not keeping anything secret in this case. They will have more of a voice of when they think something is off-kilter or needs to be changed."
Two major reports, one from the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee and another from an independent 3-panel commission offered recommendations for IMPD to do better in terms of public trust, police training and interaction in neighborhoods and during demonstrations.
Taylor said he is open to listening and making changes because he believes the majority of his workforce can get it done.
"These are not big leaps in a lot of areas," Taylor said. "If it's a big leap then honestly maybe you shouldn't be in the job. But, I think, the people who are coming through, the veteran officers, the new officers, have the mindset that they are out to protect themselves, protect others."