Rep. Vernon G. Smith commends advancement of police reform

IBLC, News & Media

INDIANAPOLIS – Last week, the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code unanimously passed House Bill 1006, advancing the bill to the House floor. State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) today expressed his appreciation for the advancement of this important police reform bill.

The new legislation would mandate de-escalation training; define and limit the use of chokeholds; establish procedures to decertify an officer who has committed misconduct; make the powering off of a body camera to conceal criminal acts a Class A misdemeanor; and require the sharing of employment records between agencies when hiring officers.

The bipartisan bill, authored by Rep. Gregory Steuerwald (R-Avon) and co-authored by Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville), Rep. Steve Bartels (R-Eckerty) and Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) is considered a top priority, coming off of a summer of nationwide protests that placed a spotlight on the need for reform in the American criminal justice system.

“I commend the House leadership of both parties for engaging in constructive dialogue with the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus and taking action on this bill,” said Smith. “The IBLC has been working with our colleagues across the aisle to address concerns about racial injustices exhibited in the state and it's a top priority for the caucus this session. The breaking of trust between our communities and our law enforcement is a deeply serious concern, and people across Indiana and the nation demand action from their leaders. This is the first step to answering their call.

“This legislation will now be considered by the House Ways and Means Committee. 2021 is a budget year, and sometimes change costs money but it is necessary. Funds must be set aside for sensitivity training and body cameras. Together, we can all work toward making Indiana a safer and more just place for all Hoosiers.”

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