INDIANAPOLIS — City leaders in Indianapolis are moving forward with a plan to overhaul the committee the writes rules and regulations for the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.
In a party-line vote, Democrats on the Indianapolis City-County Council have approved a plan to create a civilian majority on the IMPD General Orders Board. It would expand the board from the three seats to seven and four of those seats would have to be occupied by civilians appointed by the council and the mayor.
“Our commitment to your work is shown by the passage of IMPD’s 2021 budget which included an increase,” said Councilor Jessica McCormick (D) to police officers. “Still, no public entity should police themselves and answer only to themselves. The creation of this board is taking it out of the private and into the public. Putting the ‘public’ back into public safety.”
A key amendment was added to the proposal, which made it clear that anyone appointed to the board must be someone who has never been convicted of a felony.
The proposal also sets a quorum for the General Orders Board at four, which means only four members would have to be present at a board meeting in order to pass policy for the department. Board members are also required to have ten days notice ahead of time before a meeting can be called.
This brought on some push back from Republicans on the council who asked for clarification about whether or not the four civilian members of the board could approve policies for IMPD without the IMPD representatives present.
“The four members of the board, yes, they can make policy without the three IMPD appointments (present at the meeting),” said Democratic councilor Leroy Robinson. “If the three IMPD appointments after given ten days notice don’t show up, do you blame the civilians who did show up of the three IMPD appointments that don’t show up?”
It also lays out a process in which the chief of police can appeal any decision by the board that they may oppose.
The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, Indy Ten Point Coalition leader Rev. Charles Harrison, and IMPD Chief Randal Taylor have all said they are against the proposal.
“I support police reforms that builds trust from both the community & law enforcement,” said Harrison on Twitter. “What the CCC did last night was build trust from part of the community, & mistrust from IMPD & other parts of the community. This in my opinion is going to lead to division within the city”
FOP President Rick Snyder said more input is needed before the board should be allowed to be put in place.
“Why don’t we push pause, allow that input to occur,” Snyder said. “We’re confident middle ground can be found where we can get a successful passage that everyone can live with.”
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor issued this statement after the vote:
“IMPD has listened to recent calls for change in policing and public safety, and taken steps to better reflect the way our community wants us to serve. And we recognize the need for civilian participation in our processes, for it is only when we all work together that we will see the improvement in public safety that our community deserves. That’s why we have created a higher standard for use of force, banned the dangerous practice of no-knock warrants, and are implementing a permanent body-worn camera program. It’s also why we are finalizing the new Use of Force Review Board with significant civilian participation, which will have the authority to review any use of force by an IMPD officer. We remain dedicated to moving IMPD and our city forward and will continue our ongoing discussions with the City-County Council and the members of our community to ensure we are best serving the people of Indianapolis.”