Indianapolis state senator files bill to take control of IMPD away from Hogsett

An Indianapolis state senator has filed legislation that would strip control of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department from the city’s mayor.

Senate Bill 168, authored by Republican Sen. Jack Sandlin, would create a five-member board that would oversee and govern the police department.

The board would be responsible for any ordinances governing the police department, oversee the budget, assume responsibility for the Indianapolis Police Merit Board and appoint the police chief.

Those are all duties currently delegated to Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat, and the Democratic-controlled Indianapolis City-County Council.

Under Sandlin’s proposal, the governor would be responsible for appointing four of the five board members, and the fifth member would be the mayor in an ex-officio capacity.

Sandlin, who served on the Indianapolis City-County Council from 2010-2016 and as a police officer with IMPD from 1973-1993, said he filed the bill after hearing complaints from residents about crime and perceived lack of action from city officials.

“I’ve gotten calls from a lot of different corners of the city asking for some dramatic action,” Sandlin said. “We’ve seen a steady climb in violent crime, and we’ve seen really no plan to deal with rising crime.”

In 2020, the city saw a record-high 215 criminal homicides. The previous record was 159, set in 2018.

Sandlin said he has not talked to Hogsett or IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, but he has talked to other city officials and law enforcement officers.

“There is no positive morale in the police department,” Sandlin said. “We just don’t have a good interaction between police and the community.”

Sandlin said he thinks the board could be similar to the Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County, which is governed by a seven-member board that is appointed by the mayor of Indianapolis, the county commissioners and the City-County Council.

He said he is still working through some details, such as the length of the board terms, and it’s possible that the person given authority to appoint board members will be changed as the bill moves through the legislative process.

Sandin said he has not talked to Gov. Eric Holcomb about the legislation yet, because it’s too early in the process.

Hogsett’s administration has not publicly taken a position on the proposal.

“There have been a number of bills proposed ahead of the 2021 state legislative session,” city spokesperson Mark Bode said in a statement. “While it’s still early in the process, we look forward to reviewing them and working with the General Assembly on important issues facing Marion County.”

IMPD also has not publicly shared a position on the bill.

“Over the last several years, the city has worked to increase accountability and civilian oversight of IMPD, including the creation of the civilian-led Use of Force Review Board and civilian-led General Orders Board,” IMPD said in a statement. “We plan to review the language of the Statehouse proposal and look forward to ongoing conversations over the next three months as we continue to build community trust and address violence in our neighborhoods.”

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29 thoughts on “Indianapolis state senator files bill to take control of IMPD away from Hogsett

  1. So this passes and it’s the governor’s fault when crime rates go up in Indianapolis?

    Or is this primarily to roll back the changes where two IMPD boards now have majority civilian representation since we’ve been told that’s the first step towards defunding the police?

  2. I am so glad I no longer live under the authoritarian government of the Indiana Republican Party. If the citizens of Indianapolis want someone else in charge of the police, they can vote the mayor out of office. That’s what elections are for. I’d say they’re learning from their dear leader in DC, but they’ve been doing this to Indy for decades now.

    1. If you don’t live here anymore why do you spend so much time on the comment sections of the IBJ and IndyStar, Wesley? Don’t you have anything better to do? And yes, this Mayor has been historically awful, not just on crime, and the Democrats that elected him to office have no one but themselves to blame…

  3. Not sure I agree with that many people appointed by the Governor but am happy that someone is trying to do something about this crime. Whether this is passed or not. Crime has no political party and IMPD should not be run by political parties.

  4. I do not like this proposed bill – it seems like government overreach to me. However, I guess it is understandable that someone is trying to do something to curb the lawlessness that is dragging the city down. Something must be done as the Mayor seems to be apathetic.

    1. The Republicans could make an actual effort to win the mayoral election, as opposed to fleeing the county and then just having the legislature put restrictions on Indianapolis…

  5. Let’s hope this ends the situation that whoever is running Indianapolis can not say “Stand Down” to the police force as unruly mobs attempt to conduct criminal actions.

  6. Nope. Absolutely not. This is a bill to remove transparency from IMPD while forcing Indianapolis to continue to fund their budget. If Sandlin wanted to continue meddling in local affairs he should not have run for State office.

    1. We need a police force with proper funding, no? At least Senator Sandlin is trying to create a solution. It would be helpful if the state and the city could work together on this issue and address the underlying reasons for the increases in violent crime.

  7. Here we are, parties beating each other up again. Seems like no one in charge is getting the job done.
    I’ve called all the hot lines, sent the gov a letter, sent the mayor a letter, contacted DOT about the homeless and trash around my home. how can we expect them to stop murders if they can’t fix the simple stuff.
    There must be a way to get the crime down.
    I’m not built with the intuitive mind to fix it. isn’t that what the leaders are suppose to do? if they can’t, they should graciously move on.

  8. “Sandlin said he thinks the board could be similar to the Health & Hospital Corp. of Marion County, which is governed by a seven-member board that is appointed by the mayor of Indianapolis, the county commissioners and the City-County Council.”

    Now, this is novel idea. Create another entity like the HHC that takes medicaid money intended for nursing homes and use it to build hospitals.

    Additionally, the hospital CEO are making egregious money, $5 million +, and their salaries, even though they are public employees, are shielded from being disclosed because of an amendment passed by the state legislators in 2016.

    So much for full disclosure.

    So, how will Sandlin benefit?

    1. What hospital CEO is making “$5 million +”? Back up your statement, if you can. I’ll bet you $100 you are wrong. IBJ editor can judge the bet.

  9. This just highlights what an embarrassing failure Hogsett is as mayor and the damage he has caused to our capitol city. I wish there was a quick way to impeach inept boobs like this.

    1. You mean the Antifa BLM insurrection?


      Oh, wait. It was Trumpistas trying to stage a coup. That makes it okay, apparently. Good people on both sides and all that.

  10. A power grab from the Statehouse without any solid justification. Be not deceived, this is a Statehouse plan to take over government of the city of Indianapolis and to disenfranchise voters, the majority of whom are Democrats. And how might this board be more responsible to the diverse residents of the city. The is akin to the absolutely dreadful hooliganism that occurred at the Capitol in Washington DC where those who oppose the will of the majority are willing to readily usurp longstanding and proven structures. So, why make this for Indianapolis only. Should this plan proceed, make this the structure for all cities in Indiana. If the issue is morale, a restructuring as described by the Senator, is unnecessary; however, a Bill to promote morale building through professionals could be introduced, enacted, and financially supported by the State of Indiana for IMPD and other low morale PDs across the Hoosier state. Yet again, the Indiana Statehouse proposes a policy and action based on personal or partisan control. It is clear the Statehouse does not like democracy and democratic votes in Indianapolis; so the Statehouse plan is to strip the city and its officials of any governance power thereby making Indianapolis residents ward of the Statehouse, without a vote and without a voice. This is worse that socialism. These control and vindication tactics from the Statehouse move Indianapolis and Indiana from the list of locations attractive for businesses and the best and brightest of the country. The basic tenets of the Republican party for efficient government, lower taxes, and business support is laudable but these lofty goals have been replaced by power plays, vindictive laws, and micro-management and by Statehouse representatives too often without any expertise in area they attack.

  11. Republicans have long believed that the best government is that which is closest to the people. In other words, municipal government. Unless you live in Indiana. Then the Republican legislators think they know best. Tell you what, first give Indianapolis the state road maintenance funding based on lane miles (rather than street miles) and then we can talk.

  12. If it’s Republican it must be Right – Is that the new MAGA plan for Indiana per Statehouse stalwarts? Toll Road debacle – yep, that was stellar. Right to work – yep, that attracted massive business investment. Due to some proposed regressive regs, state reputation more akin to Mississippi and Arkansas – yep, that works well to attract the best and brightest seeking to relocate. School standards and level of education – nope, Indiana not too high on the list. Obesity and poor health – use Indiana as an example. Infrastructure – not great in too many places. Transportation – no, Indiana does not progressively plan and sadly has lawmaker working against improvements. One remains totally dismayed at this bill as well as other power grabs without sound or clearly identifiable of justification, rationale and supporting [scientific] data or documentation. Major changes should not be implemented by chagrin. Indiana has been regressive and, bluntly, backward in many aspects and sadly due far too often by Statehouse policies by those with power to implement and those who willing approve without knowledge or understanding the issues. This assault on urban areas needs to STOP. Let the citizens, mayors, and councils lead and may the State focus on issues to benefit citizens rather than micromanage their lives. The Statehouse could better use our taxpayer dollars to focus on health and safety policies, sound education and school funding, and perhaps reintroduce Civics as a required course in light of the recent assault on democracy and the state representatives that by their votes seems to support it.

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