Carmel Policing Reforms

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The issue of racial profiling and discrimination in the Carmel Police Department (CPD) is both long-standing and disturbing.  

  • According to a WISH TV I-Team 8 investigation of 11 police departments in central Indiana, Carmel had the largest disparities between tickets issued to black people and to white people. 
  • Black people make up only 2.5 percent of Carmel’s population, but account for more than 33 percent of the traffic tickets.
  • A separate USA Today investigation of the Carmel PD found blacks are more than six times as likely to be arrested as others, the fifth-highest racial disparity in Indiana. (Carmel had a higher racial disparity in arrests than the notorious city of Ferguson, MO).

But change will not occur on its own.  We are calling upon the entire Carmel community to support the fight for justice and equality, for as Dr. King stated, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." By signing this petition and supporting the reforms outlined below, you will become a leader in this movement and part of the solution.

Here is a breakdown of the Comprehensive Police Reforms the CPD Needs to Adopt:

  • Review and Revise the CPD “Use of Force” Policy Including (But Not Limited To): 
    • Prohibition of the use of chokeholds, hogtying or any other method of restraint that can cut off the supply of oxygen to the brain, except in cases where deadly force is authorized.
    • Prohibition of the use of force against individuals who verbally confront an officer or are handcuffed or otherwise restrained.
    • Officers should not holster, draw, point, or show their firearms unless they have a reasonable, nondiscriminatory basis to believe that there is an imminent threat of death or serious injury (to  themselves or others).
    • All use of firearms, including drawing of a weapon, should be reported and immediately investigated
    • Prohibition of the firing at a moving vehicle, or from a moving vehicle, unless it poses an immediate danger to public safety.
    • Ban on placing pregnant people to the ground face-down or rear-handcuffing them.
    • Restricting the use of force against: 1) Individuals who verbally confront an officer, 2) Individuals who are handcuffed or otherwise restrained, 3) to subdue people who are not violating a law, unless necessary to protect public safety
      • Incorporate explicit language prohibiting certain uses of force against the groups listed above including, but not limited to:  Firearms, taser, choke hold or carotid hold, impact tools including straight batons, ASP, PR-24, special impact munitions including 12ga/37mm/40mm, bean bag rounds, pepperball launcher, and chemical munitions, as well as excessive physical force
    • Revise the CPD policy regarding electronic incapacitation devices (tasers):
      • Use of tasers should be restricted except in situations where lethal force would be authorized, or as an alternative to a more lethal use of force, against an armed individual.
      • Prohibit the use of Tasers against individuals who are suspected or accused of minor offenses and who pose no danger to the officer, or who are fleeing the scene of a minor offense.
      • Prohibit the use of Tasers against high-risk groups, such as pregnant people, older people, young children, or people who are visibly frail, have known heart conditions, or are in a medical or behavioral crisis, except when lethal force would be authorized.
      • Tasers should not be used on vulnerable parts of the body (i.e., the head, neck, chest, or groin).
  • Mandatory & Periodic Implicit Bias, Cultural Awareness, and De-escalation Training for ALL Carmel Law Enforcement Officials
  • Review and Revise the CPD Definition of Profiling and Ban the Use of Profiling in All Law Enforcement Activities
    • The profiling ban must apply to all discretionary decisions by law enforcement, including decisions to stop, investigate, question, search, arrest, respond to a call for service, seize property, initiate asset forfeiture, or charge an individual with a crime.
  • Prohibition of Pretextual Stops
    • De-emphasize the regulatory and equipment failure traffic stops that are used as a pretext to get to talk to somebody, and, instead, emphasize ones that are truly related to safety.
  • Require a Written Form Prior to Conduct of Consent Searches
    • Prior to the conduction of any "Consent Search" police must inform individuals of their rights, in writing, and have them sign a written form explicitly stating:

      • “I understand that by agreeing to this consent search I am voluntarily giving consent to have my car searched and all of its belongings, as well as provide the password to my cell phone because I understand that’s going to be searched as well.  I understand that I HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO REFUSE THIS CONSENT SEARCH.”

      • This warning must be provided in multiple languages including, but not limited to, English and Spanish.

  • Establishment of Civilian Oversight Boards with Representation of Those Communities Disproportionately Impacted by Policing in Carmel
  • Complete Collection and Transparency of Policing Data That Is Easily Accessible to Civilian Oversight Boards and All Carmel Residents
    • CPD should be required to collect, analyze, and regularly make public aggregate, anonymous data about the race, ethnicity, age, and gender of people who are stopped, searched, frisked, arrested, as well as uses of force. CPD should be required to also document the basis and outcome of any search conducted.
    • Exception: Only if a person voluntarily provides information regarding their sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status, may officers record that information.
    • Collection of data on hate crimes and hate incidents and complaints of sexual misconduct by officers
    • Support for the Open Records Act and the assurance that officer misconduct information and disciplinary histories are not shielded from the public. Rectification of credentials may be denied to officers with disciplinary histories.
    • Accountability for CPD officers who display racially inclined patterns of ticketing.
    • All supervisors and officers must be trained to detect, manage, and report profiling and discriminatory policing. The Civilian Oversight Board must be able to hold officers and the department accountable.
  • Revise the Body Worn Camera Policy to Explicitly Include:
    • A prohibition on officers viewing In-Car and Body Worn video recordings prior to writing their initial report, after a policing incident. 
    • A prohibition on the use of facial recognition software with Body Worn Cameras
    • Clearly state exceptions to recording
      requirements, including exceptions
      when interacting with or observing
      people engaged in political and religious
      activity and during interviews with
      crime victims or when in contact with a
      child.
  • Additional Community Policing Reforms
    • Involving community members and representatives of those groups disproportionately targeted in the development of policies and in the creation and delivery of trainings & the establishment of formal structures for community input
    • Recruiting, retaining, and promoting applicants from historically underrepresented groups
  • Ban Evaluations Based on Number of Arrests as well as Decouple Revenue from Arrests

In closing, please keep in mind the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”  Thank you and I hope you consider signing the petition.