Holcomb creates Equity and Inclusion cabinet position, requires body cams for ISP

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INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) – On Tuesday, Governor Holcomb announced the creation of Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer as well as requiring the use of body cameras for every frontline Indiana State Police (ISP) trooper by spring of next year.

“What I’ve laid out today are actions in a broad effort to make sure Indiana is a place where every Hoosier has an equal opportunity and access to achieve our founders’ vision of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Achieving that vision requires we address root causes and remove barriers that have built up for centuries.”

Indiana’s first-ever Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer will focus on improving these areas across all state government operations and drive “systemic change to remove hurdles in the government workplace and services the state provides.”

Holcomb said the officer will help state agencies develop their own strategic plans to remove barriers, and will be a member of the Governor’s Cabinet and report directly to the Governor.

In addition, the governor announced the requirement of body cameras for every frontline ISP trooper by the spring of 2021.

“For my part, I commit to you that I will work to be a barrier buster. I commit to bring greater equity and opportunity within your state government and the services you entrust us to provide, so that every Hoosier can take full advantage of their gifts and potential,” Gov. Holcomb said.

A third-party review requirement of state police and law enforcement academy curriculum and training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was also announced Tuesday, along with more civilian representation to the ILEA Training Board.

ILEA provides the basic training for the majority of law enforcement officers in the state. 65 percent of the state’s law enforcement officers — including sheriff’s deputies, municipal law enforcement officers, Indiana State Police troopers, and conservation officers — receive some form of training at the academy.

The governor’s office said to better monitor overall progress, Holcomb will direct the state’s Management Performance Hub to create a Public Disparity Data Portal to show how our state programs are working, and will continue working with legislators, the judiciary, local sheriffs and prosecutors on potential legislation including sentencing reform and jail overcrowding. 

Holcomb said he has asked the Commission for Higher Education, the Department of Workforce Development and the Governor’s Workforce Cabinet to submit recommendations on how the state can adjust policies for workforce programs.

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar released the following statement after Holcomb’s address:

“The plan Governor Holcomb announced today represents a positive step forward for achieving true equity for Hoosiers who have experienced racism and a feeling of being left behind.

The Indiana Chamber vows to continue to pursue policies and programs that will raise up the education level and prosperity of all Hoosiers – especially focusing on those who have been underserved and in greater need. For our businesses and communities to succeed, all of our citizens need to have a pathway to thrive as well.”

Kevin Brinegar

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(This story was originally published on Aug. 18, 2020)

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