City partnership aims to reimagine public safety in Indianapolis with community’s help

Joe Hogsett

The city of Indianapolis has partnered with the Criminal Justice Lab at New York University School of Law to work to reform public safety in Indianapolis.

The partnership aims to chart a new path forward for the city’s approach to public safety by bringing together subject matter experts, local stakeholders and community members to identify and analyze critical public safety data and build community-wide consensus around an ongoing series of policy recommendations and proposals for change.

Public input opportunities will be coordinated by Community Solutions Inc., an Indianapolis-based consulting firm.

The city also plans to conduct an independent, third-party review of the city’s response to protests in late May that led to at least two deaths and damage to more than 100 businesses.

Mayor Joe Hogsett said Monday when announcing the partnership that, in this moment, Indianapolis residents expect a more fundamental assessment of public safety. The goal of the partnership with the Criminal Justice Lab is to create a new community driven and community monitored vision of criminal justice in Indianapolis.

He described the partnership as a reimagining of the local criminal justice system that focuses not just on policing but more on the root causes of crime. That reflects language used last week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which called on the Hogsett administration to reduce funding for the police department and “reimagine” the city’s public safety network.

This is what the process will look like, according to Hogsett:

The first step in the project will be a convening of community members, law enforcement, public defenders, health representatives, education representatives, social service and housing agencies and others. The purpose of those groups meeting will be to create a new definition of justice and public safety that represents equitable and fair enforcement of the law.

Once community stakeholders have defined justice and public safety for Indianapolis, the partnership will work with the group to define what specific metrics will be collected and monitored. That will require hiring several data analysts to work alongside city agencies to ensure they have the capacity to collect and share the data required, which NYU will manage and fund. Metrics are critical as a means to hold law enforcement agencies accountable to the standard of equitable public safety defined by the community. The project requires collecting and sharing relevant data, which the city said it is committed to doing.

At various stages, the partnership will set and advocate for specific, consensus-driven policies before the City-County Council or other relevant agencies. Those policies have not yet been identified, Hogsett said, and he said it’s too soon to speculate about what they might be.

In addition, the partnership will create a community-driven report card that is transparent and publicly accessible on the city’s website, ensuring members of the public have a mechanism to regularly hold city-county government accountable.

“Through this partnership, it is our intention to help chart a new path forward for our city’s approach to public safety—one that is made for, by and of the people of Indianapolis,” Hogsett said. “Anyone paying attention knows this is a defining moment in our city and in our nation’s history. The community is clearly speaking, demanding not just that we do better, but that the community be a central part of the process.”

Anne Milgram, a law professor at New York University and the director of the Criminal Justice Lab, said the criminal justice system has been overly reactive.

“What we propose is a partnership that redefines policing, justice and public safety in Indianapolis and forms metrics to hold government accountable for eliminating institutional bias, racism and inequality and for improving community safety.”

As attorney general of New Jersey, Milgram used a similar approach to reform the Camden, New Jersey, police department into a department whose policies are now considered best practices.

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12 thoughts on “City partnership aims to reimagine public safety in Indianapolis with community’s help

  1. These are the first steps needed to address criminal justice reform in our city. Input from local leaders in social services, education, and healthcare is needed to make sure the police are not a “one size fits all” approach to keeping our community safe.

  2. Total hogwash. Pothole Joe is just trying to do more a** kissing to the Democrat minorities (a/k/a “stakeholders”) – which they need to stay in office and keep their power. You want to reduce crime? How about aggressively enforcing the laws. It worked in New York City with their “Broken Windows” Program. But that would be too simple…

    1. Politician listening to their voters is ass kissing?

      What is it called when your politicians ignore you and you like it? Is that like republican BDSM?

  3. Well Stephen C., I haven’t heard any outcry from the voters for this “partnership” with a NY criminal justice lab. Hogsett is boob and joke for a mayor, who let rioters run loose in our downtown a few weeks ago. Who know how long it will take for the district to recover. Policing isn’t exactly rocket science, but then liberal cowards like Hogsett are always looking for ways to obfuscate the issues, and cover for their shortfalls of leadership.

  4. I’m fine with taking another look at how policing is done – any organization should periodically review and refine how they do things. At the same time, perhaps we should look at the other side of the equation – the communities that generate most of the police calls, and perhaps ask them to do their part to reduce the demands their members place on public services and taxpayers.

  5. Black people in Indianapolis want the following—new police work agreements. We all sign work agreements that nullify some of our rights, don’t we? Make the police do the same. The protestors need to focus like a laser on Qualified immunity (QI). QI is why police get away with killing citizens. All American mayors need to draft police work agreements that nullify police officers of their QI and have them agree not to use deadly force unless threatened. And if they do kill, and deemed not threatened—they will be immediately fired and charged accordingly.
    Give officers a 50K bonus for signing, and provide life insurance that pays their family if they kill someone in the line of duty (no matter if the officer is right or wrong). You could even provide student loan debt forgiveness for those who sign. Good cops won’t mind signing such an agreement. The transparent use of a simple police work agreement is the solution to police brutality in America. Police officers who don’t sign must get malpractice insurance to keep their jobs—essentially price the “bad apples” out of their jobs. The police unions won’t like this—but so what? Bust police unions like corporate America “busted up” all of the other unions. Propose we remove the Police unions (because they are not effective in solving police brutality) and make all police contractors, the way Uber disrupted the cab industry. I’m guessing the police unions will fall in line. Problem Solved.

  6. Pothole Joe will be LOOSING the next election he’s to worried about making our city another Seattle! Just drive around downtown hes off to a great start.

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