CALL TO ACTION ~ FOP Seeks Additional Protections, Equipment and Training for Police Officers
On Tuesday 07/26/2016, the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police publicly issued a “Call to Action” for State and Local elected officials to expedite critically needed enhancements for Law Enforcement Officers.
It is important for our local officials to respond to the imminent threat our police officers are currently confronting. Unfortunately, it is a new day in our country and our law enforcement agencies must respond, adapt and improve our approach to ensure the proper levels of a professional police response which is expected by the citizens and visitors we protect.
The “Call” focused on three (3) Action Items:
Action Item #1
Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act: The Indianapolis FOP calls upon our Indiana State Legislators to move to enhance the Indiana Criminal Code for those who specifically target and attack police officers and/or their families because of the officer’s status or perceived status while on and off duty. Inclusive within this action would be the mandated reporting by Indiana law enforcement agencies of all assaults on officers.
*Currently nationwide, only 57% of law enforcement agencies report assaults on officers to a national database. Therefore, the national yearly total is significantly underreported and prevents a complete picture of the violence toward police. The IMPD alone has averaged approximately 700 police officers assaulted annually for the last three (3) years. The department has a little over 1,600 sworn officers.
With standardized reporting federal and state resources can be better directed to areas of need and trends of violence can be better identified in the effort to educate our profession and the public while also preventing future assaults.
Action Item #2
Specialized Safety and Tactical Equipment: The Indianapolis FOP calls upon local City County Councilors and the Mayor to allocate emergency funding for additional specialized safety and tactical equipment for local police officers. The FOP specifically calls for the funding of emergency trauma kits, external tactical body armor with carriers, ballistic helmets and less lethal bean bag weapons system.
*In 2009, five (5) IMPD Officers were fired upon. That number increased to thirty seven in 2014. Since 2012, eighty-nine (89) Indianapolis police officers have been assaulted by firearms and fifteen (15) have been shot, two (2) fatally.
In 2014, the Indianapolis Police Foundation, the Father’s House Church, the Indianapolis Colts, AnthemWellpoint and individual residents from the Indianapolis community rallied together and raised $150,000 to purchase 1,500 trauma kits for the IMPD. Since then, the trauma kits have been deployed on several incidents for citizens and officers alike, resulting in many lives being saved.
The department is currently in need of kit contents and bags to replace used equipment and provide for newly hired officers in the upcoming year. Therefore, we call for the funding to purchase 200 complete trauma kits.
Recent high profile events and the ever increasing number of protests which have the potential for violence have demonstrated the need to equip every Indianapolis police officer with a personal protective ballistic helmet and face shield. This equipment can be quickly deployed by front line officers and first responder officers during armed conflicts as well as during violent incidents involving rocks, bottles and other objects being thrown at officers.
External Tactical Body Armor with Carriers
Frequent active shooter incidents and ambush attacks on police officers nationally and locally provide a compelling need to equip all IMPD Officers with supplementary tactical body armor with specialized carriers. The combined ballistic protection, additional specialized equipment storage and highly visible markings allow on duty officers to layer their protection while responding to a known in progress attack such as the Dallas, Baton Rouge and recent Indianapolis gun battles. Additionally, the availability of the equipment also ensures any off duty officers and plain clothes detectives can immediately deploy the protective gear which may be the only safety equipment at their disposal during an unexpected real time critical incident.
Less Lethal Bean Bag Munitions
Ballistic Less Lethal Bean Bag rounds allow specially trained officers to deploy powerful blunt impacts to subjects who are a threat to themselves. This specialized system allows officers to maintain time and distance from possible threats while attempting to resolve rapidly evolving situations which may include the use or the threatened use of weapons. Equipping first line patrol officers with this tool provides additional use of force options to our officers so that they may professionally assess and respond to applicable events such as those suffering a mental health crisis, narcotic induced delirium and other violent medical issues.
Action Item #3
Evaluate and Update Law Enforcement Training: The Indianapolis FOP calls upon local officials and those within the Law Enforcement profession to evaluate and update standard training curriculum to address ambush attacks, defend against elevated firearm assaults (sniper incidents) and respond to the criminal use of improvised weapons such as edged weapons, vehicles and explosives. Additionally, the FOP calls upon the IMPD to assertively increase the frequency and availability of patrol rifle training and certification courses.