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Fraternal Order Of Police Begins Fight Against New Law

Last updated on Friday, March 23, 2012

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Law enforcement officials in Indiana and domestic violence prevention advocates are voicing some serious concerns about a new law that gives Hoosiers the right to resist police who they believe are acting illegally when entering homes.

"The thing that we're the most concerned about is domestic abusers misinterpreting the intent of the law and using that as a powerplay over victims," said Julia Kathary, executive director of Coburn Place Safe Haven, which offers women and children a safe place to live in Indianapolis.

"That certain element, especially if they're drinking or if they're on drugs, are going to say this is their chance to keep us out, to keep us from coming in," said Tim Downs, President of the Indiana Fraternal Order of Police.

Ann Keil reports Downs is worried about public perception. He said he also does not agree with the governor who claimed the law would do more to protect officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against police.

"I think the legislature heard the voices of many people in our state who wanted to give citizens the right to protect their homes even against the police. It's a very touchy subject," said Jack Crawford, a criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis.

Crawford said the new law reverses a recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling, and as a result, gives homeowners more power which could cause a problem for police who are trying to do their jobs.

"When a crime is in progress, as may be the case with domestic violence situations, the investigating officers have every legal right - in fact, a duty - to enter the home without a
warrant to ensure the safety of all occupants.

"The bottom line is rash decisions can have devastating, life altering consequences," said David Bursten, Indiana State Police Spokesperson.

Kathary also spoke about additional consequences for police and people who are already being victimized.

"They may be more hesitant to call police if they feel or have been told police have less power to help them."

Downs said the FOP has already contacted their attorneys in hopes of fighting the law.

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