A bill HSPA opposed throughout the 2016 legislative session – that would have allowed private university police departments to keep more records secret than public police departments – will not go into law.
HSPA supports Gov. Mike Pence’s veto of House Enrolled Act 1022.
“The governor’s veto sends a message that all police departments, acting with state authority to arrest and to investigate crimes, should be subject to the same accountability by the public,” said Steve Key, executive director and general counsel for the Hoosier State Press Association. “The public should be able to examine the level of professionalism shown by police departments and arm themselves with information about crime reported to police.”
Students, parents of students or prospective students, and those who live near university campuses have the same interest in crimes investigated by private university police as they would in crimes reported to other police departments, Key said.
HSPA lobbied against the bill supported by the Independent Colleges of Indiana, but it passed with overwhelming support in both the Indiana House and Senate. State Rep. Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, was the bill’s author.
Passage of the bill nearly coincided with a March 15 ruling by the Indiana Court of Appeals that private university police departments are subject to the state’s Access to Public Records Act. A lawsuit filed by ESPN against the University of Notre Dame sought crime records involving student athletes.
Notre Dame unsuccessfully argued its police department did not fall under the scope of the Access to Public Records Act. The university has said it will appeal the appellate ruling to the Indiana Supreme Court.