Governor Eric Holcomb has announced steps he says the state will take to address equity and inclusion. The initiative includes the creation of the state’s first chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer, as well as a requirement for state troopers to wear body cameras.

The chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer, Holcomb says, will focus on improving equity, inclusion and opportunity throughout all state government operations.

The governor’s office says the officer will be tasked with driving “systemic change to remove hurdles in the government workplace and services the state provides.” They will also help state agencies develop their own plans.

Holcomb says every front line Indiana State Police trooper will be required to use body cameras by the spring of 2021.

The governor is also requiring a third-party review of state police and law enforcement academy curriculum at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, and plans to work with the state legislature to add more civilian representation to the ILEA Training Board.

“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.”

Holcomb says he will direct the state’s Management Performance Hub to create a Public Disparity Data Portal to show how the state programs are working.

The governor announced his plans during a special address Tuesday. You can view his full remarks below:

 

User: Governor Eric Holcomb To: link

The governor’s plan drew responses from several state officials and groups.

Indiana Black Legislative Caucus

“The IBLC is pleased to see the governor taking steps in the right direction to address equity and inclusion in Indiana. We see a lot of similarities between his new proposals and the IBLC justice reform policy agenda. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to working with the governor to execute these initiatives, including consultation in the recruitment of his first Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer.

“Governor Holcomb’s words must be followed by swift action and a good start would be to facilitate much needed support from Republicans in the General Assembly. While a review of our law enforcement academy and curriculum is needed, the governor must put concrete plans in place now to protect our Black Hoosier community. Banning the use of no-knock warrants, racial profiling and chokeholds from our law enforcement would further demonstrate the governor’s solidarity with Black and brown Hoosiers.

“As we’ve conducted town halls and had meetings with stakeholders and law enforcement personnel, we are happy to hear that their ideas and suggestions correlate with the IBLC agenda. We know what needs to happen for our community, and it doesn’t end at body cams, revised training and another data portal. As mentioned by the governor, creating economic opportunities for minority communities in Indiana is vital and will go a long way for justice reform. When we see economic and educational opportunities are fair across the board, we will truly have equality.”  

Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers)

“Governor Holcomb’s actions are thoughtful and important steps forward for Indiana. We will continue to have meaningful conversations with stakeholders, including the governor, legislators on both sides of the aisle and law enforcement, on how we can build on these efforts and further improve our criminal justice system.”  

Indiana Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray (R-Martinsville)

“I commend Gov. Holcomb for helping move Indiana forward on this important issue. As I have said recently, we in the Indiana Senate – myself included – are also working on these issues by meeting with and listening to groups across the state, including law enforcement and the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus. We all agree that racism should have no place in the Hoosier state. We have begun to find common ground on some of these issues and we are optimistic we can make strides in the upcoming legislative session.”

Indianapolis City-County Councilor Ali Brown (D-5)

“The governor’s sudden policy rollout about ending systemic racism is welcoming, however, any hopes of substantial change should be met with cautious optimism, because throughout this whole summer, Governor Holcomb has been largely silent and unwilling to even acknowledge the simple fact that Black Lives really do Matter. I say this because Holcomb all summer resorted to closed-door, behind-the-scenes meetings when Hoosiers needed to see unity from all parties. Holcomb even refused to condemn anti-Black incidents in both Bloomington and at the Statehouse.

Leadership requires immediate action to immediate concerns, not some poll-tested solution that’s meant to appeal to a political base. We don’t have that kind of leadership with Hoosier Republicans right now. So unless Gov. Holcomb actually listens to our Black leaders and allows them to lead on issues they’ve been focused on for years, it’ll once again be up to the Indy City-County Council to show state leaders like Holcomb how real, substantial change on social injustice can be made in Indiana.”

Indiana Chamber of Commerce CEO Kevin Brinegar

“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.”