State Sens. Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville) and Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) recently filed a bill to create a five-member state board to oversee the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept.
The board would provide a new level of governance and civilian oversite for the IMPD to reduce political influences.
According to a press release from Indiana Senate Republicans, “the board would work to adopt, amend and enforce municipal ordinances, resolutions and rules pertaining to the administration of IMPD; serve as the merit board for the department; and appoint the police chief, who would be the authority to operate the department. The board would consist of the mayor of Indianapolis and four members appointed by the governor.”
“It is important that outside voices are heard on how we handle matters in our capital city,” Baldwin stated. “Visitors from all over the country and the world come to Indianapolis, and we want to see it reflect well on the rest of our state. This is an increasingly important issue at this time, and we should reconsider how our police force operates in order to make our city as welcoming as possible.”
Sandlin, a former police officer, said he believed there needs to be enhanced ways to build a broader community working toward reducing violence in Indianapolis.
“Indianapolis is an important economic hub for our state from which we derive important revenues to fund a variety of great programs,” Sandlin stated. “I believe it is time to consider a more collaborative approach to how we address the protection of our residents, our businesses, our visitors as well as our law enforcement personnel.”
In 2019, 171 people were murdered in Indianapolis. In 2020, that number jumped to 244. A report by Neighborhood Scout shows Indianapolis is safer than only 3 percent of cities nationwide.
“Something has to be done to assure that Hoosiers and visitors alike are safe here,” Sandlin stated. “I believe this will be a step in the right direction.”
The Indiana General Assembly reconvened for the 2021 legislative session on Jan. 4.