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State Sens. Jack E. Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) and Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville) recently filed a bill that would create a five-member state board to oversee the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD).

The five-member board would provide a new level of governance and civilian oversight for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department while reducing political influences.  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.

“As a former police officer and longtime resident of Indianapolis, experience tells me we need to look for enhanced ways to build a broader community to work toward the reduction of violence in our capitol city,” Sandlin said. “Indianapolis is an important economic hub for our state from which we derive important revenues to fund a variety of great programs. 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.”

“It is important that outside voices are heard on how we handle matters in our capital city,” Baldwin said. “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 added that Indianapolis has seen a record number of homicides this past year. In 2019, 171 people were murdered in Indianapolis, and that number jumped to 244 in 2020. Additionally, a report by Neighborhood Scout shows that Indianapolis is only safer than 3% of cities nationwide.

“Something has to be done to assure that Hoosiers and visitors alike are safe here,” Sandlin said. “I believe this will be a step in the right direction.”

Photo: Indy Politics