Indiana News

Indiana police reform bill sails through Senate committee

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A bipartisan bill aimed at increasing police accountability and enacting criminal justice reform advanced to the full Indiana Senate after lawmakers unanimously approved the measure in a committee vote Tuesday.

House Bill 1006, passed unanimously by the Indiana House in February, includes provisions for mandatory de-escalation training, misdemeanor penalties for officers who turn off body cameras with intent to conceal, and bans on chokeholds in certain circumstances.

If adopted, the bill will also establish a procedure for the law enforcement training board to decertify officers who commit misconduct, and would ease the sharing of employment records between police departments, thus helping to stop “wandering officers” from moving jobs.

“It’s historic,” said state Rep. Greg Steuerwald, a Republican from Avon, said in January to News 8. He spent the past six months conversing with various law-enforcement agencies before writing the measure. It would require a state law-enforcement training board to establish mandatory de-escalation training guidelines.

The chair of Indiana’s Black Legislative caucus, state Rep. Robin Shackleford, co-authored the bill.

Indiana State Police Lt. Brad Hoffeditz, the agency’s legislative director, said in January, “This bill basically standardizes everything state police is already doing. We already do de-escalation training. That will be incorporated in. We’re making sure that our program basically is going to hit all the requirements that the bill would have.”

The measure also includes $70 million to upgrade the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, a nearly 50-year-old training facility. The measure does not include money for police agencies to buy body cameras.