February 16, 2022

Community input missing in proposed Marion County crime reduction program, say Indy lawmakers

Senate Bill 7 would create a Marion County crime reduction board led by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. - WFIU

Senate Bill 7 would create a Marion County crime reduction board led by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

WFIU

A senate bill that would create a crime reduction pilot program in Indianapolis advanced, but it was met with some opposition.

Senate Bill 7 passed 7-2 by the House Courts and Criminal Code Committee Wednesday, and will continue to move through the Indiana General Assembly.

It would create a Marion County crime reduction board led by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and involve other law enforcement agencies in downtown Indianapolis, like the Indiana State Police. The board would collect data on crime and produce an annual report.

Two Democratic members of the committee voted against the bill, including Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis), who said community organizations should be at the table in addition to law enforcement.

“We definitely need neighborhood associations on here, and not just law enforcement. So I think the bill needs a little bit more work,” Shackleford said.

Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Indianapolis) echoed Shackleford’s concerns and said he would like to hear more from law enforcement agencies who would be on the crime reduction board. Members of IMPD and other police agencies did not testify at Wednesday's hearing.

“If there's a way to address some of these other concerns, or for us to hear that it really is more of a collaborative effort and not just a top down effort, then maybe I can support it later,” Pierce said.

Sen. Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) said he spoke with law enforcement while creating the legislation and said they were supportive of the bill.

The committee also unanimously passed Senate Bill 9, which creates more standards for arrestees and offenders on electronic monitoring. Both bills are part of a package introduced by Senate Republicans to curb crime in Marion County.

Both bills will now move on to a second reading in the House.

Contact WFYI criminal justice reporter Katrina Pross at kpross@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @katrina_pross.

Pross is a Corps Member of Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

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