(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Senate has scuttled two bills to wrestle away control of the Indy Metro
A Senate committee gutted a bill to put a state-dominated board in charge of IMPD, instead of
the mayor. It’ll recommend a study committee instead. A second bill, which would have gotten rid
of a new citizens’ oversight board and given the police chief exclusive control over police
procedures, didn’t even get that far. The committee killed that bill outright after Indianapolis
Republican Aaron Freeman, the bill’s author, objected to punting the issue to a study committee.
Freeman and Senators Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) and Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville) blame
ineffective city government for Indy’s record murder rate last year. Sandlin, a former police officer
and City-County Council member, charges police officers are demoralized and unable to act
effectively due to what he blasts as micromanagement by the council.
Sandlin authored the bill to make the mayor one member of a five-person oversight board, with the
governor and House and Senate leaders appointing the board’s majority. The bill is modeled on a
board of commissioners which oversees the police department in Kansas City, Missouri.
IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey says shifting authority away from local oversight would
cause problems, not solve them. He says the city and IMPD have spent months consulting with
neighborhood groups and other stakeholders on reforms aimed at building community trust in the
And Mark Fisher with the Indy Chamber says Indy isn’t unique in seeing an increase in violent
crime. He says the city’s been working to address underlying issues of poverty which he says are
inextricably linked to the crime rate, and says the coronavirus pandemic has aggravated those
issues. And Fisher says the murder rate in Kansas City is higher than Indy’s — except Kansas
City has been slashing its police budget while Indy has been increasing it.