Here’s what the Indiana State Police does
The Indiana State Police, formed in 1933, employs over 1,300 troopers and 500 support staff, as it enforces traffic laws, conducts criminal investigations and analyzes evidence. Here’s what we know about the agency.
Dwight Adams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana’s state-level law enforcement agencies need more robust diversity efforts, better communication to the public and implicit bias training, an external report found.
Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday announced the findings of the consulting group he tasked in 2020 with reviewing the curriculum, training and policies within Indiana’s law enforcement agencies. Holcomb ordered the review after last year’s protests over racial inequity.
Many of the recommended changes in the report have already rolled out throughout the consulting firm’s yearlong review process.
The reviewed agencies include the Indiana State Police, Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board, Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, the State Excise Police, Indiana Conservation Officers, Capitol Police Services, and Gaming Police.
Hillard Heintze, launched in 2004, is a public safety consulting firm. The group is largely comprised of law enforcement veterans.
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In all, the report was not a blistering critique and noted a sincere desire from agencies to improve.
“The law enforcement academy officials we spoke with were highly motivated to support their core mission and were open to making improvements,” the report stated. “The staff from the law enforcement agencies that we reviewed are optimizing the systems they use and are creative in their use of the resources they have. Throughout the report, we identified areas that could further enhance their operations.”
The consulting firm found nearly all of the agencies needed better public outreach that “embraces transparency and communication about their values, work and outcomes,” and gave the example of using social media.
“It is important that the agencies engage with the public and demonstrate their value more effectively,” the report stated.
Indiana State Police was specifically mentioned twice in the report in regards to employee and community race relations.
The firm said ISP officers stated during interviews that the department’s attempts to improve its promotional processes to attract diverse candidates have been ineffective.
“They believe the agency, whether intentionally or otherwise, has much work yet to do to increase the diversity of its management ranks,” the report stated.
The firm also noted a lack of diversity among leaders at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, which trains most law enforcement officers in the state. The agency has 14 instructors, mostly retired officers, who train current and newly-hired officers. Without being specific, the report noted a lack of racial and gender diversity among trainers.
In response, academy leaders said officials are still reviewing the report but “welcome the opportunity to improve and standardize law enforcement training around the state and look forward to the challenge.”
The consulting firm also found many agencies, including ISP, lacked implicit bias training.
While many agencies included cultural awareness and diversity education training among recruits, the report found that there’s little to no education on implicit bias — defined as prejudices often held without one’s conscious awareness.
Firm interviewers asked women and people of color employed with the agencies whether they’ve experienced bias in the workplace. The report said only ISP members said they have.
“These ISP members often prefaced their response with the statement, ‘I don’t think they know their behavior is offensive because they have never been taught or exposed to other cultures,’” the report stated.
The firm noted ISP leadership acknowledged the need for more implicit bias training.
In a statement to IndyStar, an ISP spokesman said the agency is reviewing the findings and “look forward to the next steps” in the process. They pointed to the rollout of body cameras to state troopers this spring — a move Holcomb recommended last year.
Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D- Fort Wayne, and Indiana Black Legislative Caucus Chair State Rep. Robin Shackleford, D-Indianapolis, in prepared statements on Monday said they were pleased and “encouraged” with the report’s findings.
The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus was critical of Holcomb’s proposed reforms last year, arguing they didn’t go far enough.
The caucus on Monday said the report touched on many of the initiatives the group has advocated, including body cameras and implicit bias training.
“I’d like to thank Governor Holcomb for initiating this third-party review as a response to IBLC and community outcry,” Shackleford said. “It is encouraging to see many of the social justice initiatives that the IBLC has been advocating for, such as the use of body cameras and implicit bias training, be reaffirmed in Hillard Heintze’s review.”
GiaQuinta called the report a “first step” in strengthening trust and collaboration between law enforcement and communities.
“I was pleased to see the third-party review identify areas where state-level law enforcement agencies have made progress in the past year,” GiaQuinta said.
Upon the release of the report’s findings, Holcomb in a prepared statement said he’ll continue to “assure” Indiana residents that law enforcement officers are “operating according to the highest standards.”
“I made a commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable environment for all Hoosiers to take part in,” Holcomb said, “and that commitment meant taking a critical look at our state’s law enforcement.”
Contact Sarah Nelson at email@example.com or 317-503-7514.
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