Behning: Supporting our local law enforcement

Posted by: Samantha Holifield  | Monday, February 22, 2021 12:51 pm

Our law enforcement officers work hard every day to ensure Hoosiers are safe. They run toward danger when others flee, and in many cases, they are the first on the scene during emergencies. I know our community is grateful for our local police officers and all they do to protect us. This session, I am co-authoring legislation further supporting our law enforcement, and boosting accountability and transparency in policing.

Our police officers put on the uniform with the best intentions to keep our communities and state safe, and unfortunately, a few bad actors can tarnish the good work that most do. In some instances, after an officer is disciplined or fired from a department, they can find employment at a different one. To identify these bad actors, this bill would require full employment record sharing between police departments to prevent those who should not be in these positions from jumping from one department to another. This legislation would also provide additional flexibility to the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board in order to address significant officer misconduct.

Under this proposal, new recruits and current officers would also be required to undergo de-escalation training. Our current budget proposal would invest $70 million for much-needed facility upgrades at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield, which has not been updated since the 1970s, and improved training programs.

This legislation is the result of many conversations that have taken place over the past year, and I am grateful for the leadership of fellow Hendricks County lawmaker Greg Steuerwald who has worked tirelessly on this bill. Through his efforts, this bill received unanimous, bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and it is also supported by the Indiana State Police, Indiana State Police Alliance, Indiana Fraternal Order of Police, Indiana Sheriff's Association, Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Hoosier State Press Association, Inc., the Indy Chamber of Commerce and the Public Defender Commission.

This bill is now ready to be considered by the Indiana Senate, and I am hopeful it will soon be law. Information on this bill and others is available at iga.in.gov. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about the work we are doing at the Statehouse at 317-232-9648 or h91@iga.in.gov.

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State Rep. Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) represents House District 91,
which includes portions of Hendricks and Marion counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.