Indianapolis, Indiana – A new legislation has been enacted in the state, stipulating that anyone within a 25-foot radius of a police investigation could face arrest.
This law, known as House Enrolled Act 1186, grants law enforcement a protected buffer zone of 25 feet to carry out their responsibilities. Non-compliance after being asked to maintain this distance could lead to charges of a Class C misdemeanor, which carries penalties of up to 60 days in jail and a fine reaching $500.
Indiana is one of the pioneers in implementing such legislation, according to State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville), the originator of this legislative bill.
“The encounters, as we’ve seen, have increasingly [been] getting more and more violent with people who aren’t necessarily involved in the situation at all,” McNamara commented.
Chief Kyle Prewitt of the Plainfield Police Department, an advocate of the measure, said, “It was a very good thing for not just the safety of law enforcement officers, but for the safety of our citizens.”
The law, however, will not apply uniformly across all situations, as law enforcement officers will employ discretion in its implementation.
“Most of the time, people are very attentive to what the police are doing, and they want to be helpful and they stand back,” Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner elaborated. “There are some times when people just won’t be cooperative, or they do want to interfere.”
Nevertheless, the law has elicited negative reactions from Democrats and other organizations.
Furthermore, ACLU of Indiana’s attorneys are scrutinizing the law, suggesting that it could obstruct the public’s capacity to keep law enforcement in check, according to Katie Blair, the organization’s director of advocacy and public policy.
“We’ve seen several murders at the hands of police that have been captured by citizens observing or recording those actions,” Blair pointed out.
However, law enforcement representatives refute the claim that the law hinders transparency.
“I can capture video from more than 25 feet away, and I’ll oftentimes capture the audio that’s associated with that,” Chief Prewitt asserted.
The law will be put into effect starting July 1.