Monroe County sheriff’s deputies to get regular training updates with Lexipol policy management program

Sometime before December, the 44 sworn officers under the Monroe County sheriff will start taking monthly training on policies they’re supposed to follow.

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Monroe County Sheriff’s Office on 7th Street, looking north. Image links to Google Street View from which it is taken.

They’ll also get regular testing on the policies, according to Monroe County sheriff Brad Swain.

On Wednesday morning, county sheriff Brad Swain described the training and policy management program to county commissioners this way: “It will be as much a part of their work week as making sure their car is safe and all their equipment is good.”

The range of policies to be reviewed on a routine basis include those from 21st Century Policing  and #8CANTWAIT, Swain told commissioners.

The #8CANTWAIT policies require that law enforcement agencies: ban chokeholds; require de-escalation; require warning before shooting; require exhaustion of all alternatives before shooting; impose a duty to intervene; ban shooting at moving vehicles; require use of force continuum; require comprehensive reporting.

At their regular Wednesday meeting, the three county commissioners gave their unanimous support for the one-time “implementation fee” of $9,425 for the Lexipol system, that will, according to Swain, put the policies “all at their fingertips, their phone apps, as well as their within their car.”

The initial year’s subscription fee of around $10,000 is being paid for by the Indiana Sheriffs Association out of a federal grant. Swain told commissioners he hopes the future year’s subscription fee can be built into the county’s budget.

Swain told commissioners that he’d talked with Lawrence County sheriff Mike Branham about the Lexipol program. Lawrence county has had the Lexipol program in place starting this year, Swain said.

Nationwide, public interest in adoption of policies on use of force and training was heightened after the late May killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, who pinned Floyd down with a knee-on-neck hold for about nine-minutes. It was the event that prompted nationwide protests against police brutality, including the local Enough is Enough march in Bloomington.

At the end of June, Swain issued a press release describing how his office’s policies stack up against the #8CANTWAIT recommendations.

On Wednesday morning, Swain pointed to a White House mandate against chokeholds, which he said also included carotid restraints.

Also Wednesday morning, Swain told commissioners that because the sheriff’s policies are of interest to the public, the Lexipol program will be available online in .pdf format. “So when people have a question about policy, they can research that for themselves that they would like,” Swain said.

Swain described how the Lexipol program would allow his office to merge its current policies with federal and state laws, court rulings, and best known practices across the country. If there are new laws or court decisions a given policy can be reviewed and updated in the program that delivers ongoing training, Swain said.

In his remarks to commissioners, Swain said his current policies are a blend of current best practice and the policies and procedures of past Monroe County sheriffs, dating back to Jimmy Young in the 1980s.

Commissioner Penny Githens told Swain that she’s interested in hearing some feedback after six, nine or 12 months. She wants to hear how sheriff thinks the Lexipol policy training program is working and what kind of impact it is having.