Community members joined leaders from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the City-County Council Thursday night for a discussion on police relations, the first in a series of planned events.
The council created the event in light of a Police Merit Board's decision not to fire the two officers who killed Aaron Bailey last year, and it comes as councillors consider a proposal that could make changes to that board.
Council president Vop Osili proposed his own changes last week, but downplayed his contribution after some community members protested. He responded by reiterating that a series of public conversations will shape the decision.
In the first of those conversations, community members broke into small groups to talk about their personal relationship with the police. Members of IMPD and some city councillors came to listen.
Then residents were asked to come up with solutions – anything that could make that relationship better.
Local resident Rosalind Allen says there should be more transparency in the process that follows a police shooting. And she says the all-appointed Police Merit Board should be restructured.
“Someone suggested electing people for the merit board. I think that would be a good idea,” Allen says.
Osili says specific solutions like these are the critical piece of what can be a complex, emotional conversation.
“That’s what we want brought back to us as leaders in our community, either in the council or in law enforcement or in the administration," Osili says. "Bring us those things and let’s see then, what we can begin to get implemented."
The next community event is expected in about five weeks.