Indy PD Announces Long-Awaited Policy Reform
by Tj Schmidt • February 7, 2018
A baffling rule that made homeschool graduates with college degrees revisit high school in order to become police officers has been locked up and put away for good.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) announced their long-awaited policy reform in March—after more than a year of advocacy by Home School Legal Defense Association and the Indiana Association of Home Educators (IAHE).
Under their old policy, the IMPD had required homeschooled graduates who wished to join the force to complete either the GED or the HSE high school equivalency exams. This applied even to homeschool graduates who had finished college or who had served honorably in the U.S. military.
This requirement came from the IMPD’s efforts to follow the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board’s standards for police officers. They took an narrow interpretation of the Board’s current rule, which says a police academy applicant shall, at a minimum, “be a high school graduate as evidenced by a diploma issued by a state accredited high school. An equivalency diploma issued by an accredited high school or proof of an earned degree issued by an accredited college or university is also acceptable.” See 250 IAC 2-3-3.
Fortunately, Indianapolis police officials agreed to meet with me and with Rob Beiswenger, IAHE’s government relations manager. So this February, Rob and I sat down with IMPD Deputy Director Mark A. Brown and an attorney with the City of Indianapolis. We walked them through the problems with their requirement, and showed them how Indiana law and the Training Board’s rules allow college graduates to be accepted into law enforcement training schools throughout the state. At the end, we recommended that they change their policy.
We are pleased to report that the IMPD has indeed changed their policy. It now says that “homeschooled students who apply must have an HSE diploma, unless the applicant presents documentation from an accredited college indicating that he/she has met admission requirements for that college. This documentation must be a letter or transcript from the college.” This improved policy went into effect on March 16, and will open a path into the IMPD for homeschool graduates who don’t want to take the GED or HSE.
HSLDA and IAHE will both continue to address discriminatory practices in Indiana. Among other things, we are looking into changing the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board’s current policy to be more homeschool-friendly as well.