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US DOJ to review IMPD practices regarding police shootings

U.S. Department of Justice to eye police shootings in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday it will conduct an in-depth review of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s uptick in police shootings during 2023.

In 2023, there were 19 police shootings, 10 of which were fatal.

The review comes at the request of Chief Chris Bailey of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. He asked the department’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office to analyze “data, records, policies, and practices” related to police shootings.

The National Policing Institute will work in conjunction with the DOJ for the analysis.

The analysis will look to identify patterns that could provide insight into 2023’s police shootings, and will also examine IMPD’s policies to make sure they are “more reflective of accepted state and national best and emerging practices.”

“Taking an in-depth look at these areas is always a positive step and can result in real changes,” Hugh T. Clements, Jr., director of the Community Oriented Policing Services Office, said. “We credit Chief Bailey and the leadership of the department for asking for this assistance.”

In a video message on the study, Bailey said that, outside of the data review, the DOJ would also engage with the community and IMPD stakeholders through individual and group interviews.

Democratic Mayor Joe Hogsett appeared in the video message, saying the city remains committed to the safety of its community members and “will strive to uphold the highest standards of policing.”

The DOJ says its Collaborative Reform Initiative focuses on offering services to state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement as they work to build trust between their communities, improve operations, and build the agency’s capacity for improvement.

The release did not say when the review would begin.

Chrystal Ratcliffe, president of the Greater Indianapolis NAACP, says the study is long overdue and Bailey’s unilateral decision to request it is a sign of transparency. She says officers have disproportionately shot Black men.

Ratcliffe says she hopes the DOJ talks to organizations outside IMPD to get a full accounting of how officers have conducted themselves.

“We would like to make sure that, during the process, there is contact with community organizations like the NAACP just as a watchdog to give input,” she said. “But I do have to commend our mayor and the Indianapolis police department for reaching out to the Department of Justice to get that assistance in these police shootings.”

The mayor’s office tells News 8 the study will be funded through the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services Office program, and the city won’t have to pay anything.

Three police shootings have happened in Indianapolis in 2024 so far.