INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WISH) — Just a few weeks ago, IMPD announced a Diversity and Inclusion Council that just held its first meeting last week.
News 8 was told the murder of George Floyd accelerated the creation of the group, and that this is a long-term process and results will take time.
After Floyd’s death last May, people protested in Indianapolis and across the county. IMPD faced heavy criticism for their response to the riots and protests.
“Over the last year, things have been accelerated. Things that maybe we were studying we put into place at little bit quicker,” Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said.
And the most recent change is the diversity council. By design, it is a group of officers from a wide range of backgrounds that will come together to share cultural experiences with one another, then transfer that interaction to the department as a whole.
“Making sure that all of our employees feel like they are included in the processes, that they have an equal opportunity to reach their professional potential and that how we are recruiting, how we are training, how we are doing in the field training all allows for everyone to have an equal opportunity to succeed,” Bailey said. “And this group of employees working together will change our agency from the inside out as we move forward.”
The department expects this council to improve diversity efforts, inclusion, equity and understanding within the existing ranks.
Bailey says real change within the department will require changes in recruitment and training.
“The best way to make change, the best way to make this a diverse department and serve the needs of our community, is from the inside,” he said.
The IMPD’s current recruits are being taught a class called “interrupting racism,” which Bailey says is a deeper dive into the history of racism not only in law enforcement but in general.
The recruitment of black officers is another challenge for the department. IMPD is competing with other agencies that are also hiring a more diverse workforce.