This report is from the Chesterton Tribune
The International Union of Police Associations has called on Governor Mitch Daniels to veto a bill that would allow people in their homes or on their property to use force, including deadly force, to defend themselves against what they believe to be the unlawful activities of police officers.
In a letter to Governor Daniels, Sam A. Cabral said, “I believe this legislation sets the stage for some misunderstood legalities to become deadly confrontations between citizens who believe they are acting within the scope of Indiana law, and police officers who are enforcing that law as they understand it. For the state to sanction and even encourage such actions against the police is counterproductive to public safety.”
An experienced former Sergeant of Detectives, Cabral warned the Governor that any decision by a person with neither law enforcement training nor legal training about the legality of an officer’s actions cannot be tried and determined in a front yard yard by the persons who are themselves involved in the incident. He stressed that, “These matters are the purview of our courts. Those courts themselves may take years to make such a determination and those rulings are not often unanimous even among jurists”
Referring to his years of experience Cabral maintained that law enforcement officers are more carefully screened, trained and supervised in all of their activities than ever before in the history of policing. Reinforcing the union’s position he said, “To sanction a split second decision to use force, including deadly force, by an untrained resident who ‘believes’ that the police are acting in an unlawful manner, will certainly result in some deadly and unintended consequences.”
It is clear to the law enforcement community that when encountering situations in which a person or persons are at risk, law enforcement officers must consider ‘probably cause’ or, at the very least, ‘reasonable suspicion’ in deciding what action to take. If either condition exists, they are obligated to take action. Citizens have no such legal obligation. To many citizens, the notion of probable cause is not clearly understood.
In essence, the legislation would allow untrained and inexperienced individuals to act as judges and juries of police actions instead of accepting the established judicial process for resolving disputes.
Cabral stressed the concern that the legislation would not only put law enforcement officers at greater risk at a time when assaults on officers are at an all-time high, but also puts citizens at risk of injury or death due to exercising poor judgment in critical situation.