INDIANAPOLIS — Proposal 237, a bill before the Indianapolis City-County Council that would rework IMPD’s oversight committee to include a civilian majority, is moving forward in the council chambers.
Tuesday night, city-county councilors heard from the public, each other, and Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Randal Taylor about the proposal. It was the first time that Taylor publicly came out against the proposal.
“As pendulums move, and they should indeed move, you can also move too far to one side,” Taylor said. “Now, I’ve only been the chief for just nine months, but I’ve made some changes to the department. I’ve worked on transparency.”
The proposal as 18 co-sponsors on the council and if passed and signed by Mayor Joe Hogsett, would expand IMPD’s General Orders Committee from three members appointed by the chief, to seven members. Four of those members would be civilians with no ties to the police department. Two would be appointed by the mayor, the other two by the city-county council.
Those civilians would have to complete IMPD’s Citizens Academy and having 24 hours of ride-alongs with officers in the first three months of selection before that can take up their position on the committee.
Taylor feels giving civilians a majority stake on the committee is a step to far at this juncture.
Others are opposed to the bill. Republican Councilor Paul Annee said, “This is just the first chip in an overall effort to defund our police department or as some would like to say, reimagine it.”
Another forceful reaction came from Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police No. 86: “This proposal is putting convicts over cops and their families.”
“This is by no means a takeover or an attempt by this council to police the police, but rather we are opening up the process,” said Democratic councilor Keith Potts, who helped write the bill.
“We are not defunding anybody,” added Councilor Dan Boots (D). “The last budget item I looked at had $7 million more dollars going to the IMPD.”
Chief Taylor said though he is opposed to the bill, he said he will not try to fight the measure if it is passed by the council in a vote coming up in two weeks. Taylor told WISH-TV he would work with it.
When asked about the possibility that convicted felons could serve as civilians on the IMPD oversight board, the police chief said, each person should be considered on a case-by-case basis with crimes like some drug offenses from rehabilitated addicts seen in a different light from more violent offenses.
The bill also has support from many large corporations in the Indianapolis area including Eli Lilly & Company, Cummins, and Salesforce.