INDIANAPOLIS — A lawmaker in Indiana wants police officers to have 25 feet of room to work without being inhibited by antagonists. Evansville-area State Representative Wendy McNamara proposed legislation that appears to have overwhelming support toward the goal.
McNamara is the primary sponsor of House Bill 1186 that easily passed the Indiana House last week on a 57-20 vote. The measure is simple enough, she said, according to FOX 59 Indianapolis.
“Having that 25-foot perimeter around law enforcement so they can focus on what’s in front of them at hand is very vital to making sure that situations don’t escalate,” McNamara said.
The proposed legislation is outlined below:
“A person who knowingly or intentionally approaches within twenty-five (25) feet of a law enforcement officer lawfully engaged in the execution of the law enforcement officer’s duties after the law enforcement officer has ordered the person to stop approaching commits unlawful encroachment on an investigation, a Class C misdemeanor.“
Although laws currently exist that provide protection from interference by members of the public, many say it is not enough, and HB 1186 provides a clearly defined violation.
The Indiana State Police Fraternal Order of Police, the Evansville Fraternal Order of Police and the Indiana Sheriff’s Association all support the bill, FOX 59 reported.
“The public almost has to touch you before you can tell them to move away from you. So, you can imagine trying to take someone into custody or investigate a crime and someone is getting in your face or getting right on top of you while you’re trying to do your job,” explained Vanderburgh County Sheriff Noah Robinson.
Naturally, the ACLU of Indiana is among the groups that oppose the bill.