New Indiana law requires more training for law enforcement statewide

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VIGO Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)–Governor Eric Holcomb signed House bill 1006 into law Friday requiring all law enforcement agencies to perform mandatory de-escalation training and redefines chokeholds while prohibiting them in certain situations.

After the death of George Floyd, many across the country and in Terre haute called out for more police accountability and transparency.

Rep. Tonya Pfaff said she’s proud of the legislation.

“This is such a good bill because it has all contingencies working together. Law enforcement groups working together with the legislative bodies, they came up with really good bill that helps everyone. I think that’s the best part about this bill,” she said.

In Vigo county Sheriff John Plasse said they revised their use of force curriculum after the 2020 summer protests.

He noted that these training programs are especially useful for county agencies.

“If you can’t talk your way out of a situation or try to calm that situation down, then you’ll have a problem,” he began. “If it’s you and a big group of people or just one on one. It’s good to have that in your tool kit to want to calm things down if you didn’t before. I think county agencies have had to do that a lot longer because of the proximity of their nearest backup.”

The new law also makes its a crime for officers to turn off their body cams with the intention of concealing a crime.

Recently Vigo County Sheriff’s office requested funding to get the equipment.

Plasse said it’ll help hold officers accountable and maintain transparency.

“I think it’s a good thing. I know some people are hesitant to change.. if you don’t really understand. But I think this will be a tool help both sides, law enforcement and the community, see what happened in a situation and answer some questions that we may not have been able to answer if we didn’t have body cams.”

Rep. Pfaff sayid this is a step in the right direction to continue implementing change statewide.

“This is not the end all be all bill. But at least we started talking about things that are really important and ways that we can positively make a difference in the state of Indiana. My hope always is you start the conversation. You get something in place and then you continue the conversation. It’s not over but this is a really good start,” she concluded.

The new Indiana law also requires agencies to request an officer’s previous employment records when they are trying to get hired at a different department. It also protects the previous employer from being sued after releasing those records.

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