Holcomb unveils plan to equip state police with body cameras, create cabinet position

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday announced plans to equip Indiana State Police troopers with body cameras by next spring and create a new cabinet-level position in his administration to focus on equity and inclusion.

The announcement comes more than two months after Holcomb said he believed the state needed to take action to address racial inequality and injustice. Holcomb said he has been talking to Black business owners, church leaders, college presidents and law enforcement officials since then to better understand what changes needed to be made.

He said he was told to think about the big picture and get at the root cause of inequity instead of only reacting to the symptoms.

“While we have made progress—and we have—we haven’t rooted it out fast enough,” Holcomb said. “Gaps persist and some are widening.”

The body cameras—which racial justice advocates have been pushing for—are expected to cost the state $5 million to purchase and $1 million annually for data management. The cameras are expected to be phased in and fully implemented by spring 2021.

Holcomb also said he’s ordering a third-party review of all training practices and curriculum at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, which provides the basic training for the majority of law enforcement officers across the state.

The new chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer for the state will be responsible for identifying shortcomings in administration and finding ways to fix those gaps. This person will report directly to Holcomb and will also serve as an ambassador to minority communities so residents are more aware of the existing available resources from the state.

“In short, this cabinet member will help every state agency raise their game,” Holcomb said. “I’m confident this is the right first step.”

Holcomb has not yet filled the position, but said he has a shortlist of several external candidates.

Of the 18 current cabinet members, three are minorities.

The administration also plans to create a “public disparity data portal” to identify how the state is—or is not—interacting with minorities. It’s not exactly clear what that portal will include, but it could feature data on whether workforce grants are helping minorities, statistics from the Department of Corrections on incarcerations or information on pre-Kindergarten enrollment.

Holcomb described the public dashboard as being “critical” to moving the state forward.

“We’ll put our cards on the table, face up,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb also committed to continuing to work on issues of sentencing reform and jail overcrowding, but did not release specific actions he’s taking in those areas. And he plans to direct the new secretary of education, which will be appointed next year, to focus on recruiting more minority teachers.

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers and Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Fred Payne have also been told to submit specific recommendations on how to adjust workforce programs to create more opportunities for people of color.

“Black lives matter, and so do black livelihoods,” Holcomb said.

He said he expects some of the changes that need to be made will be difficult, but worth it.

“What I’ve laid out today are steps in a broad effort to make sure Indiana is a place where every Hoosier has an equal opportunity and access to achieve our founders’ vision of life, liberty and that pursuit of happiness,” Holcomb said.

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13 thoughts on “Holcomb unveils plan to equip state police with body cameras, create cabinet position

  1. Want to do something really significant Gov? I suggest the state take over IMPD which obviously can’t be effectively run and managed by the City of Indianapolis.

  2. You can hire all the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity commissars you want, so long as there is a massive cultural behavior gap between black citizens and everyone else, the gaps will persist because we’re ignoring the actual ‘root causes’. The problems in that community are largely only fixable from within and the current mania is a desperate effort to ignore that because it’s too uncomfortable to discuss openly.

    1. Amen.
      Why are we talking about color instead of crime?
      No one gets shot driving to work or church.
      Facts are pesky things.

  3. If the governor really wanted to help the black community, he’d fix the schools, starting with IPS. And by fix, I mean close it down and start over. Education will create opportunity, not appointing a diversity officer. Since when does government create opportunity anyway?

    And we’re gonna look at sentencing reform? Is that what’s plaguing the black community, the criminals are locked up too long? They need more opportunities to prey on innocent victims? Well, I guess that’s one opportunity the government can create.

    This is all just so the the Liberal media like IBJ might find it in their hearts to say something nice about him (sorry Governor, but they won’t).

  4. “Holcomb said he believed the state needed to take action to address racial inequality and injustice.”
    What Governor Holcomb need to do is to layout to the citizen of Indiana the specific racial inequalities and injustices. Problems are impossible to solve when you have not defined specific issues. Government would be wise to embrace industry method for solving problem because the same old tired methods they have used in the past continue to fail. Oh that what this new position is to determine, State of Indian has 30,000 and can’t determine the problem, but one more is the magic number, ump.
    “The new chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer for the state will be responsible for identifying shortcomings in administration and finding ways to fix those gaps”
    So based on this article racial inequality is Black inequality. So Mr Governor please clarify how Black Inequality and you new cabinet position are going to maintain inclusion. Or this inclusion exclusive to one particular group, hence exclusion.
    The hypocrisy of these action are mind boggling. Also will you candidates for the new position all be Black and if so how is that diverse and inclusive.
    Is anyone asking questions out there and if not, WHY?

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