Pryor statement against State Senate Republicans’ bill regarding IMPD control

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INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) today issued the following statement in response to a proposal by State Senators Jack Sandlin (R-Indianapolis) and Scott Baldwin (R-Noblesville) on a state takeover of IMPD:

“The city of Indianapolis and its community should retain control of its local police department,” Pryor said. 

“While I appreciate the concerns of Senator Sandlin and Senator Baldwin regarding the number of homicides this year, as we all are and should be, dictating who provides oversight will not change civilian behavior. We need to instead address the root causes of the problems.

“There is and has been for a long time an issue of trust between IMPD and the Black community. State Senator Sandlin claims giving the state control of the local police department will instill trust; I fail to see the logic of this claim. This past October, IMPD listened to community leaders and put more civilians than officers on their Use of Force Task Review Board. The City-County Council also created a new civilian-majority General Orders Board. These are the right steps we are supposed to be taking. 

“If this bill was introduced with a true intention to build trust, then supporting some of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus’ criminal justice reform bills would be better. Bills that propose an annual review of law enforcement actions for bias and racial profiling reform are examples of legislation that would actually empower communities. 

“Make no mistake—this is once again another attack on Marion County for no other reason than Republicans want control of the city and county. The General Assembly has already reduced the number of people Marion County can appoint to the Airport Board, eliminated our four at-large members on the City-County Council and eliminated Marion County’s ability to elect its judges. Legislators should stop trying to become glorified councilors and instead do the jobs they were elected for. 

“If the state takes over the police department, then state legislators like Sandlin and Baldwin should be prepared to fund the department; if the state does not fund its police takeover, then it creates unfunded mandates. I am sure the Republican supermajority has more in store for us, as they continue to place power and partisanship over good governance.

“I have fought and will continue to fight for fairness and justice for Marion County. I was elected to represent my community, and I will always speak out against these egregious power grabs.”

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