INDIANAPOLIS — As IMPD detectives continue their investigation into the most recent officer-involved shooting from this past Friday, police brass are searching for a research firm to do a study of why it seems so many incidents are occurring.
Since Jan. 1, IMPD has had 15 officer-involved shooting incidents resulting in eight fatalities.
11 such incidents have occurred since Aug. 1.
“Everybody wants an answer why these are occurring in such close proximity,” said IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey late in October after an officer killed a man who had shot him with his own service weapon. “We don’t have that answer other than our officers are responding a lot of times to the actions of other individuals and most of the times these individuals have been armed with a handgun.”
11 of this year’s incidents involved a subject with a gun.
In two incidents, the subject was unarmed, and in one case, the police shooting proved fatal.
IMPD has not experienced such a deadly year of officer-involved shooting incidents since 2015 when officers shot 20 people, taking 10 lives.
The department has reached out to the Police Executive Research Forum to submit a bid to conduct the study.
An unaffiliated researcher at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago said multiple factors must be weighed while examining officer-involved shootings.
“One would be officer characteristics,” said Senior Fellow Bruce Taylor. “What we want to know is the basics about the officer, what are the demographic characteristics, that would include things like gender and race and ethnicity, age, we would want to know the rank of the officers, years of service. We would also want to know characteristics about the subjects. Subject characteristics would also include whether the subject was under the influence of drugs, did the subject have a weapon, did they use force themselves.”
Several IMPD officer-involved shooting incidents this year involved illegally armed convicted felons or persons wanted by police who indicated previously that they would not surrender without a fight.
”The other type of measures that we would recommend would be situational characteristics,” said Taylor. “We want to know, what was the reason for the encounter, was this a stop that the police made for speeding or something like that, what kind of offense may have been committed, was the offense committed during an assault, were there witnesses present, what was the location, was this in an urban location, was it in a public place, private place, was there any camera footage of the event, how many officers were involved, backup requested?”
Taylor said changes in state law could also play a role in the frequency of officer-involved shooting incidents.
”If there are new laws that have been introduced then you would want to account for that in the analysis,” said Taylor.
Since the repeal of Indiana’s firearms permit law on July 1, 2022, IMPD has been involved in 16 shootings with persons armed with guns.
Taylor said once the study is completed, IMPD could then rely on its findings to examine policies and training.
IMPD is likely not to select its researcher until 2024.