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New use of force policy takes effect for Indiana police

Last Updated 2 weeks by Amnon J. Jobi | Amnon Front Page

New Indiana police use-of-force policy takes effect

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Police officers across the state now have to follow a new use of force policy created by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

The policy allows officers to use chokeholds, a move that was banned in 2020 by the Indiana Metropolitan Police Department after the death of George Floyd.

The law enforcement training academy told I-Team 8 chokeholds can be used only when officers are authorized to use deadly force. They included them in the policy to give officers another tool to protect themselves and others if their lives are in danger.

“We felt like it was important, but I want to be clear that the use of a chokehold is only applicable in a situation that would allow for the officer to use deadly force, so there is no justification for it unless it’s a deadly force situation,” said Tim Horty, Indiana Law Enforcement Training Academy executive director.

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The training academy said the new use of force policy will allow officers from everywhere across the state to have the same understanding of when they can and can’t use force and how much.

“The standard is reasonableness. And the standard is developed from Indiana state statute from supreme court rulings and Indiana case law,” Horty said.

“How high is that threshold for the use of deadly force,” asked I-Team 8 Reporter Kody Fisher.

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Horty answered, “Well, it’s the highest threshold that we have. The standard is serious bodily injury, so if I push you in the chest is that substantial risk of serious bodily injury? Probably not, but if I come at you with a knife and there is an imminent threat of serious bodily injury you don’t have to wait until that individual plunges a knife in your chest to use deadly force.”

Horty admitted that there are gray areas when deciding what is and is not a reasonable amount of force.

“It’s hard. If it were an easy standard then anyone could do it. That’s what makes this job so tough. That’s what makes it a difficult position for all of us. That’s why we think it’s important to have a standardized policy around the state so that every officer has a pretty fair idea of what is reasonable and what is not,” he said.

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I-Team 8 reached out to IMPD for an interview to discuss the new use of force standard their officers are now following, but they declined our request. I-Team 8 also reached out to several members of the Indianapolis Use of Force Review Board, but they also declined.

The training academy said this use of force policy could change if new laws are created that either add or ban specific uses of force.