ANDERSON — The third time may be a charm for a special committee of the Anderson City Council to discuss police reform.
Twice the nine-member committee appointed by Council President Lance Stephenson has had to cancel scheduled public Zoom meetings because of a failure to provide adequate notice to members of the public.
The committee has scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday.
The meeting is to discuss the ordinance and resolution regarding police reform that was addressed at last month’s council meeting.
During the meeting committee members hope to amend both the ordinance and resolution so that it is legally binding and addresses concerns from both citizens and APD.
Members of the public can participate in the meeting by connecting to:
The City Council is considering the resolution and ordinance at the request of local resident Lindsay Brown. It would restrict arrest procedures by officers, require body and in-car cameras and outline disciplinary measures.
The ordinance was passed through one of the three required readings and the companion resolution was tabled by the council.
The resolution asks the administration to create a database accessible by the public of use-of-force incidents; implement diverse hiring practices for all city departments; and reestablish and fund the Social Status of Black Males Committee.
But there was a disagreement between city attorney Paul Podlejski and council attorney Rosemary Khoury on the legality of the ordinance.
Podlejski and assistant city attorney Tim Lanane provided the council and committee members a document stating the proposed legislation violates Indiana law and would be invalid.
According to the memo, legislation adopted by the Indiana General Assembly states the Anderson Board of Public Safety shall administer the police and fire departments.
It states the Safety Board may adopt rules for the governing and discipline of the police and fire departments and adopt general and special orders for both departments.
The memo cites a federal court decision in a Terre Haute case that found the safety board shall have “exclusive control over all matters” and property related to the police and fire departments.
“If a city ordinance undertakes to impose regulations which are in conflict with rights granted or reserved by the Legislature, such ordinance must be held invalid,” Podlejski and Lanane wrote.
Members of the special committee include Councilwoman Rebecca Crumes; Councilman Jon Bell; Brown; Thomas Tijerina; Mike Anderson; David Lehr; Tami Dixon-Tatum, the city’s director of Civil and Human Rights Department; Podlejski and Khoury.