Indiana law enforcement reform bill earns widespread support

A bipartisan bill aimed at increasing police accountability and enacting criminal justice reform received early support from Indiana's legislators, law enforcement leaders and community groups Tuesday, following calls for action from the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

Posted: Jan 13, 2021 10:06 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A bipartisan bill aimed at increasing police accountability and enacting criminal justice reform received early support from Indiana's legislators, law enforcement leaders and community groups Tuesday, following calls for action from the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus.

House Bill 1006, which was unanimously approved by the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee, includes provisions for mandatory de-escalation training, misdemeanor penalties for officers who turn off body cameras with intent to conceal, and bans on chokeholds in certain circumstances.

The bill would also establish a procedure for the law enforcement training board to decertify officers who commit misconduct, and would ease the sharing of officers’ employment records between police departments, thus helping to identify “bad actors” and keep them from moving jobs. The legislation now heads to the full House.

Bill author Republican Rep. Greg Steuerwald said the measure has “total support” from law enforcement. Police organizations, including the state Fraternal Order of Police, the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police and Indiana Sheriff’s Association, backed the legislation Tuesday, as did the Indiana Public Defender Council.

“It's a very rare circumstance that the Indiana State Police gets to stand up and say what I’m about to say ... but we rise in support of the bill,” said ISP Lt. Brad Hoffeditz. “This bill basically standardizes everything the State Police are already doing."

Hoffeditz specifically noted the record-sharing provision, saying departments often resist sharing information about officers and will only confirm that an individual had been employed there.

“It’s very difficult to make a decision that we need to make on an employment action when that’s the information we have at hand,” Hoffeditz said.

Tim Horty, who leads the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, said he favors classifying chokeholds as “deadly force.” The restriction technique should be likened to police officers using firearms, and the burden of proof “should be the same,” Horty said.

“We are 100% opposed to chokeholds," he said, adding that chokeholds do not appear in the academy's curricula.

The draft legislation is inspired by the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus' proposed package of police accountability and criminal justice reforms released over the summer, following protests against racial injustice and police brutality spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

In June, the caucus called on Gov. Eric Holcomb to address criminal justice reform with a list of “immediate action items” that included bans on chokeholds, racial profiling and no-knock warrants.

Those same issues are now key to their policy agenda during this Legislative session, said Democratic Rep. Robin Shackleford, chair of the caucus and who co-authored the House bill. She said it is “a great start.”

“I think it’s probably more than we expected to try to get passed in this bill, because it did have some controversial parts," Shackleford said. "I’m just glad everybody was able to get things worked out and we got as much in here as we could.”

While Shackleford said there is support for the bill from the NAACP, the Indianapolis Urban League, and Indiana Black Expo, she acknowledged that some wanted stricter language on chokeholds and more funding for body cameras.

Steuerwald said that while there is broad support for providing body cameras to police departments across Indiana, that issue was withheld from this bill. Instead, body camera funding will be discussed as part of the state budget, which House Republicans are expected to present next month.

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Lafayette
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 22°
Kokomo
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 16°
Rensselaer
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 21°
Lafayette
Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 22°
Danville
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 33° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 20°
Frankfort
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 32° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 17°
Frankfort
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 31° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 17°
Monticello
Cloudy
27° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 17°
Logansport
Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 18°
Slick spots....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 587049

Reported Deaths: 9287
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion810691296
Lake44121665
Allen31797541
Hamilton28178303
St. Joseph26684369
Elkhart24057340
Vanderburgh18519213
Tippecanoe17305121
Johnson14398284
Porter14342159
Hendricks13793241
Madison10509212
Vigo10432171
Clark10151129
Monroe9029108
Delaware8782129
LaPorte8721153
Kosciusko784677
Howard7834137
Warrick636790
Hancock633297
Bartholomew624294
Floyd6098105
Wayne5903156
Grant5799109
Dubois541670
Boone531467
Morgan512388
Marshall492484
Henry491164
Cass469060
Noble458757
Dearborn454544
Jackson413145
Shelby401178
Lawrence379475
Clinton363639
Gibson355056
DeKalb336363
Montgomery333851
Harrison326042
Knox325439
Miami308243
Steuben304940
Adams294435
Whitley292325
Wabash291645
Ripley290845
Putnam282447
Huntington281257
Jasper280733
White265738
Daviess260772
Jefferson248538
Fayette241348
Decatur241282
Greene232460
Posey230026
Wells228547
LaGrange223461
Clay216432
Scott216437
Randolph207540
Jennings191335
Sullivan188531
Spencer179917
Fountain178625
Washington175018
Starke170741
Jay162021
Fulton158829
Owen157837
Carroll151315
Orange150533
Rush148118
Perry145327
Vermillion144333
Franklin142533
Parke12788
Tipton127332
Pike113125
Blackford107022
Pulaski94637
Newton89020
Brown85530
Benton84110
Crawford7479
Martin69213
Warren6537
Switzerland6175
Union6063
Ohio4647
Unassigned0374

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events