MUNCIE — More than a dozen city police departments in Indiana are nationally accredited, which means they have oversight when it comes to use of force policies and procedures.
More than 20 law enforcement agencies are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) including Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Fishers, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Shelbyville, Speedway, Noblesville and Westfield.
See which agencies in Indiana are accredited here.
The Muncie Police Department is not accredited through CALEA and has no plans to do so, despite the indictment of five former and current police officers for allegations involving excessive force or attempting to cover up the misconduct.
The trials for Sgt. Joseph Krejsa and Officers Chase Winkle, Jeremy Gibson and Corey Posey are expected to get underway in federal court on Jan. 24.
Muncie Mayor Dan Ridenour told WRTV the city’s police department has no plans to become accredited.
CALEA accreditation means a police department meets a set of professional standards, and experts review their policies and procedures.
The accreditation process also ensures officers are following the police department’s policies and procedures, according to CALEA’s regional programming manager for the Great Lakes region, Daniel Shaw.
“Accreditation means the law enforcement agency has voluntarily decided to come into compliance with international best standards and has subjected itself to independent assessors who verify compliance with those standards,” Shaw said. “Agencies have to show proficiency with firearms every year, as well as tasers. Weapon-less force training has to be conducted every other year."
Accredited police departments have to back up their claims with data.
“These agencies are able to pull together examples to prove so if they are called into court they're able to prove that their personnel received proper training,” Shaw said.
CALEA’s standards also have an entire chapter on use of force.
"Everything from agency employees can only use reasonable amount of force when conducting their duties, to more recent standards that were developments like restrictions on chokeholds and vascular neck restraint,” Shaw said. "One of our standards also requires an annual analysis of use of force policies and practices. Agencies are continually updating their policies and training methods based on the situations that are occurring in the field. That is another standard that is really important for our program."
The Muncie Police Department has faced scrutiny over its use of force dating back to 2018.
The pending federal charges alleging excessive force and falsifying reports stem from a previous police chief and mayor, Chief Joe Winkle and Mayor Dennis Tyler.
WRTV Investigates obtained the Muncie Police Department’s use of force policy, which was last updated in July 2020.
It bans officer chokeholds unless deadly force is justified.
A new law took effect July 1 that largely bans chokeholds in most circumstances for Indiana law enforcement agencies and also makes it a crime to intentionally turn off a body-worn camera.
PREVIOUS | New laws take effect July 1
Muncie’s use of force policy also bans shooting from a moving vehicle or at a moving vehicle.
The Muncie Police Department Chief Nathan Sloan has refused WRTV's interview requests, but the mayor told us in an email the police department last reviewed its use of force policy in July 2021 and they have no plans to get accredited through CALEA.
Ridenour took office in January 2020 and watched some of the body camera footage associated with the indictments against the current and former police officers.
WRTV Investigates has requested the body camera footage as well, but we have not yet received it.
"I went in and I looked at the videos,” Ridenour said. “I knew there had been some challenges in the police department previously with a few number of officers we felt. I asked to watch the videos and I watched some. I asked some officers to be looked at for disciplinary reasons and remove from office. We've started following that process."
Muncie Police Department Chief Nathan Sloan placed Posey on paid administrative leave on April 14.
Meanwhile, two other indicted officers still employed by the department, Winkle and Jeremy Gibson, remain on unpaid administrative leave.
PREVIOUS | Fifth Muncie police officer pleads guilty
Krejsa retired from the department in July and is also awaiting federal trial.
Ridenour said they’ve also added de-escalation and ethics trainings for police officers.
“To my knowledge, there are no investigations of any actions by the Muncie police from January 1, 2020, on,” Ridenour said.
Getting accredited can cost police departments time and money, but CALEA says it can ultimately save lives, protect officers and also protect against costly lawsuits.
"It's really essential to ensure that agencies are following best practices in policing of the public,” Shaw said. “Without the trust of the public, it makes policing much more difficult."
WRTV's offer still stands to sit down with Sloan to talk about use of force policies.
It’s not clear how often they are reviewing their own policies and if they have any outside agency or expert reviewing them.