By Leah Sander
PIERCETON — The Pierceton Town Council received a briefing on the state’s new police reform law on Monday, June 14, by Pierceton Police Chief Tim Sammons.
Indiana House Bill 1006, signed into law on April 1, deals with the use of chokeholds by police and promotes de-escalation techniques.
It “prohibits the use of chokehold under certain circumstances,” said Sammons. “This bill also will allow the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to decertify an officer who has committed misconduct under the state statute. … We’ve already got this covered in our SOPs (standard operating procedures) … (that) officers that turn off their body-worn camera with the intent to conceal a criminal act now will commit a Class A misdemeanor.”
“Law enforcement now will have the authority to ask for new hire’s employment records if they were a previous law enforcement officer with another agency,” he continued. “We can now ask for their employment records and then also provide certain employment information upon request. And then that also provides immunity to disclose that for employment records.”
The law will also provide money for improvements at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield, which has not happened since the mid-’70s, he said.
“These are all important things moving forward,” added Sammons. “I think they’re very, very good. I do like the decertification of an officer that commits misconduct in the state because in the past that was kind of something that would fall through the cracks. An officer would get dismissed at one agency, their personnel record would be sealed and then you would not know what you’re getting.”
Sammons said the department would have to update its SOPs to reflect the parts of the law it didn’t already have in them.
The council also approved an ordinance regarding the use of alcohol in Pierceton parks.
The policy reads in part: “No person may use, possess, consume, sell or give away intoxicating or alcoholic beverages in any town park except upon the written consent or permission of the town council.”
“The town council may authorize such use, possession or sale of alcoholic beverages in either Brower Park or the Pierceton Washington Township Park upon written request made at least forty-five days in advance to the town council, unless such time frame is waived by the council under such terms and conditions as may be approved by the council,” it also says.
The council also heard requests for honoring firefighters and veterans.
Deb Finken asked if banners honoring individual local veterans and firefighters could be hung in town.
Council President Tom Barker said NIPSCO would have to agree since the banners would be affixed on town equipment.
The town will talk with NIPSCO about it.
Greg Chism with the American Legion Post 258 asked if the town could purchase flags for veterans’ graves at the local cemeteries.
Chism is to provide the town with a cost.
The council’s next regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 12.