Pence taps ex-IMPD chief to lead civil rights agency

Former Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department chief Rick Hite will become the new leader of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Gov. Mike Pence announced Thursday.

Hite, who served as IMPD chief during Mayor Greg Ballard’s administration, replaces Jamal Smith, who is resigning to lead the athletic department at Indianapolis Public Schools. The civil rights commission enforces Indiana civil rights laws and investigates discrimination complaints.

“Rick Hite is a man of integrity and a dedicated public servant, and I am proud to announce that he will serve an integral part of my administration as executive director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission,” Pence said in a written statement. “Rick’s proven track record of upholding the law and building consensus will serve Hoosiers well, and I’m honored to welcome him as a member of my cabinet.”

Hite moved to Indianapolis from Baltimore and served most of his career with the Baltimore City Police Department, starting as a cadet and moving up the ranks to Lt. Colonel. He is a Gary native.

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