Indiana justice reform bill signed into law

INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric Holcomb signed Indiana’s justice reform bill, HB 1006 into law Thursday. The law will take effect July 1.

State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) began authoring the bill in the summer of 2020 during a discussion with the Indiana Sheriff’s Association over jail overcrowding issues. Steuerwald said it then turned into discussions on what the law enforcement community can do to protect the public. 

State Rep. Greg Steuerwald

H.B. 1006 calls for mandatory de-escalation training and would establish a procedure for the law enforcement training board to decertify officers who commit misconduct.

Other key points within the bill:

  • Defines “chokehold” and prohibits the use of chokeholds under certain circumstances
  • Creates a penalty for officers who turn body cameras off with intent to conceal
  • Eases ability to share officers’ previous employment records between police departments

Steuerwald says $70 million will be used to upgrade its nearly 50-year-old training facility the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and local law enforcement agencies without body camera programs can now apply for a state grant to get them.

It also deals with what law enforcement calls “wandering officers” – officers that like to bend or break the rules. A decertification process is now in place for those officers while also setting up a state hearing to protect their due process rights.

It also creates a punishment for officers who intentionally turn off their body cameras to hide their own misconduct

The law requires hiring departments to request an employment file from an officers’ previous agency. The law requires the officer’s previous employer must supply the entire file.

The bill before being signed into law had the backing of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, Indiana Sheriff’s Association, Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, Indiana State Police, and the Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police.