INDIANAPOLIS — A proposal that will soon go before the Indianapolis City-County Council would add more civilian input to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s policies and procedures.
The plan would add four civilian members to IMPD’s General Orders Committee, giving civilians a majority on the board. The committee currently has three members from law enforcement.
“This proposal allows for the community to have access and give input to things that are going to clearly impact all of us,” said Pastor David Greene Sr., president of the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis. “In this climate where there is a lot of tension between community and law enforcement, it is very important in this season to come together and work together.”
Pastor Greene said this is something he and other community leaders have been wanting to see. The proposal has 17 councilors listed as sponsors.
Councilor Crista Carlino said IMPD already consults with experts when creating policies, “A lot of those relationships honestly already exist. We have excellent people for example with IUPUI who help us develop policy.” Carlino said this proposal just takes that relationship to the next level.
“They have a seat at the table, but they don’t have a vote and it is not a transparent process so law-enforcement can choose to not take that advice, so with this new proposal those folks would have a vote and a real say in policy making,” said Carlino.
The proposal states that civilian employees would have to complete the citizen’s police academy, several training courses and do a minimum of 24 hours of ride-alongs with IMPD officers.
Some councilors say they don’t think that is enough.
“We don’t have these brand-new officers setting policy for our department. These are well-versed, well trained and very much so tenured officers with the department,” said Councilor Brian Mowery. “To say that we are going to let a group of civilians that have again, this watered-down version of their training to set their policy, I don’t see how we can honestly say this is a good idea. We are putting the officers at risk.
We are putting their families at risk we are sending the wrong message to the people that have our backs.”
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor also expressed concerns at the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee meeting on Tuesday, saying he has already been working to add more civilian engagement.
“I’ve made some changes to the department. I’ve worked on transparency and I guess if I could boil it down to just one comment, my concern would be as we make changes, as pendulums move, and they should indeed move, you can also move too far to one side,” said Chief Taylor.
The City County Council is expected to vote on this proposal October 12th. If approved, it would go into effect January 1, 2021. You can read the full proposal here: https://citybase-cms-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/3f00149edd6b4931a8e557a2ef8f9e1c.pdf