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Bill to study IMPD oversight passes committee

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 16, 2021) — A bill authored by State Sen. Jack E. Sandlin that would request a study of creating a five-member state board to oversee the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) passed out of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law today.

"Over the course of this past summer, I was asked by many individuals and business owners in our capitol city what could be done about violent crime in our community, and as a legislator representing large portions of Indianapolis, if I could provide help in the legislature," said Sandlin when presenting his bill in committee. "The constant reports of murder, shootings, assaults, and other violence had obviously been wearing on the community."

Senate Bill 168 would request the legislature study creating a new five-member board to provide a higher level of governance and civilian oversight for IMPD while reducing political influences. This board would work to adopt, amend and enforce municipal ordinances, resolutions and rules pertaining to the administration of IMPD; serve as the merit board for the department; and appoint the police chief, who would be the authority to operate the department. The board would consist of the mayor of Indianapolis and four other members – one appointed by the governor, one by the Senate President Pro Tem, one by the Speaker of the House and one by the Indianapolis City-County Council.

Sandlin referenced the need in 1995 for then-Gov. Evan Bayh to deploy the Indiana State Police to the city of Gary to curtail a rising murder rate, showing a precedent for state involvement when local government is overwhelmed. He also discussed how the bill is modeled after the Kansas City Police Department, where the governor appoints a management board.

Additionally, Sandlin provided violent crime statistics for Indianapolis, saying more than 1,300 people were shot or stabbed in 2020, and 171 so far this year.

"We have seen progressive violence and crime in the last five years," Sandlin said. "When is enough just enough?"

The bill will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.

To view Sen. Sandlin's prepared remarks, click here.


For a high-resolution photo of Sandlin, click here.