After Indianapolis smashes homicide record, FOP president proposes law changes

The majority of the proposals looked to strengthen bail-related laws

By Sarah Nelson
The Indianapolis Star

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis' police union president is calling for numerous changes to the state's criminal justice laws in the wake of the city logging its bloodiest year in history and as the Indiana General Assembly is set to reconvene next month.

Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder in a news conference Wednesday presented over 10 recommendations he plans to take forth to state lawmakers. Snyder was joined by Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition, a local anti-violence group.

FOP President Rick Snyder speaks during a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 at the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #86 headquarters in Indianapolis.
FOP President Rick Snyder speaks during a press conference Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 at the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #86 headquarters in Indianapolis. (The Indianapolis Star)

The majority of the proposals took aim at bail-related laws that Snyder contends too often allow violent offenders to reenter the streets.

It's a contention the organization has often repeated, and one it argues is a driving factor in Indianapolis' increasing homicide rate. The city last weekend saw its 246th homicide, surpassing last year's record.

"Trying to turn this public safety crisis around in Indy is certainly not going to be easy," Harrison said Tuesday. "It's more complex and more widespread than we have seen in the history of the city. It is very clear that what we've done over the last six years to reduce violence has not worked."

Among the union's proposed changes: Judges reviewing probable cause affidavits before determining bond, preventing automatic bond for repeat offenders and reclassifying level 6 charges as violent felonies - which would prevent bail being automatically set to $500 cash in Marion County.

The union is also advocating for tighter regulations surrounding nonprofit bail organizations, including reexamining how public money is funneled to them or prohibiting charitable groups from providing bail for felony charges.

Snyder pointed to the case of a woman fatally stabbed 51 times this summer allegedly by her boyfriend, who was released pretrial for another stabbing accusation after a judge significantly reduced his bond, which was then paid for by a bail nonprofit.

Snyder described his proposed changes as common-sense fixes that would dramatically reduce the city's homicides, non-fatal shootings and stabbings.

Data from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department show the city endured 551 non-fatal shootings involving 614 victims last year. The city has eclipsed that mark already this year, with 596 non-fatal shootings as of Nov. 12, with 674 victims.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department top leaders have said they consider non-fatal shootings a better indication of how a city is faring with violent crime.

The only difference between a homicide and non-fatal shooting, Assistant Chief Chris Bailey previously told IndyStar, is bullet placement and access to medical care.

State lawmakers are to convene Jan. 4. It's unclear at this time whether lawmakers will sponsor legislation related to the union's requests.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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