[r75] Hoosier safety priority in the House (3/22/2013)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Start Date: 3/22/2013 Start Time: 9:00 AM

We are continuing to make great strides in the House of Representatives this session, passing legislation to create a promising future for the people of Indiana. Hoosier safety has been a priority as I have authored legislation to create safety initiatives for our police force and establish protections for the mentally ill.

House Bill (HB) 1151 creates a Blue Alert program to notify the public when a law enforcement officer is killed, seriously injured or missing in the line of duty. Upon activation of the system, participating radio broadcasters and electronic billboard operators will repeatedly broadcast up-to-date information to the general public.

The system would utilize the same technology as that of Indiana’s Amber Alert and Silver Alert systems. By rapidly reporting if an officer is injured, missing or killed, local law enforcement and citizens will be properly alerted and encouraged to act accordingly. The system acts as a safeguard for citizens in the event that a suspect is still at large who could do harm to innocent Hoosiers.

Safety remains the focus in another bill, HB 1111. The bill allows an individual to practice tactical emergency medicine if the individual is an emergency medical technician (EMT), an advanced emergency medical technician or a paramedic employed by a law enforcement agency or an emergency medical services agency. This is helpful in providing retrieval and field medical treatment to victims of violent confrontations.

While many of our SWAT units across the state have received special training to perform tactical emergency medicine, they cannot properly utilize their skills under current Indiana law. If a SWAT team member is injured in the line of duty, precious time is wasted extraditing them to a secure area for EMT’s to treat the wounds. This bill allows for immediate treatment for our Hoosier servicemen.

The Legislature also wants to ensure the safety of Hoosiers, including those who might be disabled or mentally ill. HB 1130 provides that if an individual is gravely disabled or  has a mental illness and needs to be hospitalized, they may be detained by a law enforcement officer and transported to the nearest appropriate facility. Ultimately, this legislation aims to ensure the protection of gravely disabled Hoosiers and allows for law enforcement to get them the help they need.

The price of the safety of our children and our community can never be measured. As we progress further through the legislative session, I promise to continue to look out for the best interests of Hoosiers everywhere. As always, if you have questions, comments or concerns you can feel free to contact me at 1-800-382-9841 or at h75@in.gov.

BLT - Hoosier Safety.docx