Excerpt from Sept. 12. 2023 BPD general order on use of force.
Stock photo of taser.
Bloomington board of public safety meeting, July 18, 2023.
In a Sept. 5, 2023 news release, the Bloomington police department (BPD) announced that officers would soon be piloting the use of electronic control weapons, commonly known as tasers.
For Bloomington police officers, the tasers will be added to pepper spray and collapsible batons as options that are less lethal than a gun.
On Sept. 19, at the most recent meeting of Bloomington’s five-member board of public safety, BPD deputy chief Scott Oldham said that he does not expect the tasers to be deployed for the pilot before the start of 2024. It will take some time for an officer to be certified to train other officers in the use of tasers, and then additional time to train officers, Oldham said.
While the board of public safety was briefed on the decision to add tasers to the set of less lethal options for BPD officers, the board did not have decision making authority on deployment of tasers.
Tasers were discussed with the board at its June and July monthly meetings this year.
The winners of the four contested Bloomington city council district races on Tuesday were Isabel Piedmont-Smith (District 1); Kate Rosenbarger (District 2); Hopi Stosberg (District 3); and Shruti Rana (District 4).
That’s an even split between two incumbents and two newcomers. The incumbents are Piedmont-Smith and Rosenbarger. The newcomers are Stosberg and Rana.
They’ll be the Democratic Party’s nominees in the Nov. 7 city elections.
Left in the frame Jennifer McCormick. At the lectern is Monroe County Democratic Party chair David Henry (May 4, 2023)
Jennifer McCormick is welcomed at Switchyard Brewing (May 4, 2023).
Jennifer McCormick is welcomed at Switchyard Brewing May 4, 2023).
Jennifer McCormick May 4, 2023).
A little after 7 p.m., Jennifer McCormick arrived at Switchyard Brewing Company on North Walnut Street in downtown Bloomington with her 2024 gubernatorial campaign team.
McCormick is vying for the Democratic Party’s nomination as the governor of the Hoosier state.
The campaign launched with a late-Wednesday filing, then hit the road Thursday, starting in New Castle, where she grew up. From there, it was on to Terre Haute, then Evansville, and finally Bloomington.
McCormick’s name will be recognizable as Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction, elected in November 2016, running as a Republican.
The office of superintendent was abolished in 2021—replaced by the secretary of education, who is appointed by the governor. Also in 2021, McCormick announced she was changing her political affiliation to the Democratic Party.
Thomson did not get a majority of the 8,012 votes in the three-way race.
Thomson’s 3,444 votes gave her about 43 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent (2,644) for Susan Sandberg and 24 percent (1,924) for Don Griffin.
No Republican has yet declared a candidacy for mayor and no independent candidate has submitted the required 352 signatures to qualify for the November ballot. To appear on the ballot as an independent candidate for mayor or city council, qualifying signatures have to be submitted by June 30.
Sent the questionnaire were Democratic Party primary candidates for Bloomington mayor, city clerk and city council. The questionnaire was not sent to candidates affiliated with the Republican Party, because BLM B-town does not consider the party to be in alignment with its basic principles.
According to BLM B-town, their candidate assessments are provided to voters for informational purposes—they are not endorsements.
Candidates were given seven days to fill out the questionnaire, and were sent subsequent reminders after the survey was sent, according to BLM B-town
A total of 18 candidates wrote out answers to the questionnaire. It was designed to allow assessments of candidates in the categories of: Awareness, Position, Vision, Voices at the Table, Commitment & Effectiveness, Passion & Comportment.
Candidates are assessed on a scale ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”.
Some candidates did not respond to the questionnaire. About those candidates, BLM B-town wrote: “[C]andidates’ refusals to provide answers for this Voter’s Guide should remind us that the majority of the Bloomington political landscape is built to sustain anti-Black practices.”
With each election cycle, the League of Women Voters hosts a website with candidate profiles. It’s called Vote 411.
Included below are links to all the LWV profiles for all candidates in Bloomington’s city primary elections—for mayor, clerk, and city council.
The Vote 411 profiles include the answers that candidates have written to questions posed by LWV.
What if the same questions were posed to a chatbot that has been trained on a giant corpus of text, to respond to conversational prompts?
The B Square posed the LWV’s questions to ChatGPT, which is an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by a company called OpenAI. It was released late last year. (GPT stands for Generative Pre-training Transformer.)
The LWV questions were given minor tweaks, like swapping in “Bloomington, Indiana” for “the city” to give ChatGPT a shot at providing answers that reflect the unique circumstances of Bloomington.
Another tweak: In places where the LWV questions use the second-person pronoun “you,” some kind of passive voice construction was swapped in. That’s because ChatGPT tends to respond with a disclaimer of sorts when asked about itself. For example, “As an AI language model, I have never tasted maple syrup, …”