Both Democrats and Republicans are hailing the passage of bill HB1006, dubbed the “Police Reform and Training Act,” that will create more accountability in law enforcement and provide more training.
The bipartisan bill was a response to sweeping law enforcement reforms across the nation following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and received zero “no” votes in both the house and senate before being signed into law by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.
Indiana Representative Randy Lyness said the bill will improve the standards of officers in law enforcement.
“It’s just a great bill to make it transparent but also to support our law enforcement,” said Lyness. “Unfortunately, in any occupation there’s bad actors and there’s some in law enforcement and this bill will help weed those people out.”
According to Local 12, the new law will mandate de-escalation training for officers, and creates procedures for decertifying officers who commit misconduct. In addition, the law puts greater limitations on the use of chokeholds, as well as making it a misdemeanour for officers to intentionally turn off a body camera.
On the subject of body cameras, the law allows local agencies without body cameras to apply for a grant to receive them.
“We are going to earmark a $20 million grant for places that don’t and get body cams,” said Lyness.
Furthermore, the bill attempts to address accountability measures by requiring law enforcement agencies to conduct a thorough background check on an officer’s previous work history.
“There have been such things as traveling officers, they would get in trouble someplace and go to another place so this will require them to be checked and all the incidents to be recorded and kept in the file,” said Lyness.
Local law enforcement agencies declined interview requests from Local 12, but did say they were already working on de-escalation training. However, there is still some confusion regarding what that training needs to include.
“We are still waiting on specific guidance from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) of exactly what we need to teach to satisfy the annual training requirement,” said Dearborn County Sheriff Shane McHenry.
The law, which goes into effect on July 1, will direct $70 million dollars to help upgrade the 50-year-old ILEA training facility.