By Mark Ambrogi
As a new member of a bipartisan policing strategy group in Congress, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN05) wanted to engage with the law enforcement communities from the eight counties she represents.
With that in mind, Brooks met with several members of law enforcement departments Aug. 25 at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
“There are about 12 members of Congress (in the group) who are looking and talking about what Congress’ role is helping our communities as we have seen so many difficult situations erupt, whether it’s Baltimore, it’s Ferguson (Mo.), Dallas or Baton Rouge,” Brooks said.
Brooks said she wanted hear from police and sheriff’s departments in her communities about the challenges they are facing.
“One thing that makes me so very pleased and relieved quite frankly, is the communities in the fifth district are showing tremendous support for their law enforcement,” Brooks said. “While we’ve had all of these issues with communities uprising after police incidents that has not happened in Central Indiana. I learned there has been outreach by our departments to make sure they have strong relationships in the communities, whether with faith communities or police academies inviting citizens into academies or working with programs like DARE in schools.”
Brooks said she learned most of the departments she met with either use or are considering using body cameras. Brooks said it is important because so many citizens are taking photos with their phones of incidents that may not always show the entire incident.
“The body cameras are providing that accountability not only for the law enforcement but for the citizens,” Brooks said. “I’ve learned a lot of citizens might complain about something but when they then see what happened on that camera, whether it’s on the car or (officer), they are seeing the complaints will diminish or will go away. Far more often than not, law enforcement is doing the right thing in executing the stop or the arrest.”
Brooks said in her communities there has been increase in violence against police officers, primarily in Indianapolis.
“It’s causing hiring problems in our departments,” Brooks said. “A lot of people who have contemplated law enforcement in the past are not going into law enforcement now and that’s a big concern of all these departments.”