GREENWOOD, Ind. — Greenwood Police Chief Jim Ison says his department is answering the national call for police reform with a complete review and overhaul of department policies.
“We need policies that are very clear and concise, in accordance with state and federal laws and in accordance with the best practices in law enforcement around the country,” Ison said. “We’re trying to get ahead of that curve and be proactive in it.”
In November, Greenwood PD entered into a $15,000 annual contract with California-based Lexipol–which is made up of legal and public safety policy experts–to review and update the department’s more than 150 policies.
Since that time, Ison has received daily revisions from Lexipol for him and his training officers to review. In some cases, the revisions are altered and sent back to Lexipol for approval.
“Our profession is under the microscope, there’s no secret,” Ison said. “Not only is the public looking at how we operate, the lawmakers are looking at how we operate.”
At this early stage of the process, Ison can’t give specifics on how polices are being rewritten. However, he says revisions have included everything from use of force to defensive tactics to evasive driving and other aspects of officers’ jobs.
“They may be a protector, they may be a counselor, they may have to put on their lawyer hat, locksmith, a teacher, sometimes even a parent,” he said.
As policies are being rewritten, plans are also in the works to include ongoing training for officers. One form of daily training will involve officers downloading an app on their smartphones. Each day at the start of their shift, officers will receive a pop-up quiz of policy-based questions to complete. Ison says the quizzes will be one or two questions, and would only last about a minute.
“Their answers will be logged and shipped electronically to their training files to ensure that they comprehend and can apply it practically,” Ison said.
This will be the first complete revamp of Greenwood Police Department policies in nearly a decade. Bob Dine, a current Greenwood City Council member and former chief, says he remembers times when officers were frustrated by new policies and restrictions.
“When I was chief and we would do this, it would be, ‘Well, this is just something to get us in trouble’ or ‘they’re just pounding on us and not paying us any more money,’” Dine said.
However, in today’s climate, Dine sees the policy overhaul as a positive step for the department.
“I look at it as protecting the citizens of Greenwood and the taxpayers, I look at it as protecting the police officers and the police department itself,” Dine said.
Ison expects the new policy manual and training to be in place this summer. After that, Lexipol will continue to monitor new laws and guidelines that are passed across the nation and in Indiana and apply them to Greenwood’s policies as needed.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of police reform and policy reform and the way we do business,” Ison said.