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(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.