Use of force

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 311 on use of force authored by Sen. Baldwin.  The bill prohibits a state or local law enforcement officer (officer) from firing warning shots and allows a guard, official, or officer in a state or local penal facility to fire warning shots to prevent the escape of a person. The bill provides the following regarding a county, city, or town (unit): (1) Allows an officer to use force options that are not in the unit’s use of force policy in certain circumstances in which deadly force is justified. (2) Allows an officer to disregard the order mandated in a use of force continuum and decide what force option to use based upon the officer’s determination of what is reasonable and necessary under the totality of the circumstances. The bill also prohibits a unit from adopting an ordinance, resolution, or policy that prohibits or restricts an officer from using a force option as provided in (1) and (2).

The Committee amended the bill to add the right to self-defense for law enforcement officers and to remove Section 3 that would prohibit a county, city, or town from adopting an ordinance restricting use of force by an officer.  The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified in support of the bill.  The African American Coalition of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office testified in opposition to the bill.  Cummins and the United Way of Central Indiana provided neutral testimony.  The amended bill passed 8-1.

Read the bill at: