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Changes could be on the way for IMPD's general orders board

Council to vote on Proposal 237 Monday night
IMPD oversight
Posted at 9:04 PM, Oct 12, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS — On Monday night, the Indianapolis City-County Council will vote on a proposal that would mean major changes for the way IMPD policies and procedures are created and reviewed.

Proposal 237 would add four civilian members to IMPD’s General Orders Board, giving them a majority on the board. It currently has three members, all from law enforcement.

There are strong opinions on both sides. Supporters say it allows the community to have a say in how they want to be policed and will increase transparency with the community. Those against it say it strips the chief of his power and creates a lack of accountability.

"This is something that we believe would be a step towards unity and accountability and helping the community as well as the police department work to make sure there's a good relationship and everything is being viewed from both sides,” Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr., of New Direction Church, said. He said this is something he and other faith leaders have been pushing for.

Those against the proposal say it goes too far.

“This is an extreme deviation from the way any police department operates,” Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, said.

Snyder met with law enforcement officers and their families outside of the City-County Building on Monday, saying they support having citizen input, but they want to see changes to Proposal 237 before passed by council.

He said it will have a negative impact on already low officer morale as well and if approved as is, could lead to community frustration as well.

“When citizens are frustrated with what is going on they'll point fingers at their politicians. Their politicians will point fingers at their civilians on the board, and the civilians on the board will point fingers at the police department. There is no clear line of accountability,” said Snyder.

“I am not against civilian participation in the use of force board or the general orders board. I'm not crazy about it being a majority and I've said that in the past," IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. "I think we need to be given an opportunity to see how that works out at a lower level first, but I’ve also said in the past if this ends up getting passed tonight I’m going to be fully behind it and I’ll work with whoever those civilians are to make sure we represent our members in the best way we can while also taking into account the communities concerns.”

The proposal already has strong support from council members as 18 of the 25 councilors have signed on as co-sponsors.

A spokesperson for Mayor Hogsett said he was unavailable for interviews on Monday, but said the mayor supports this proposal.

“Mayor Hogsett supports the City-County Council as they consider Proposition 237. Following the death of George Floyd this summer, we heard the clear message from residents that they wanted more civilian participation and oversight on issues of law enforcement. Proposition 237 reflects the popular will, and we believe it will strengthen the policies and procedures of law enforcement, leading to a safer community and more trust between neighborhoods and the IMPD,” said Mark Bode with the City of Indianapolis.