INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating a deadly crash involving an off-duty police officer.
According to IMPD, the officer in his patrol car hit and killed a pedestrian near Southport Road and Emerson Avenue late Thursday night.
“Anytime an officer is involved in an accident, whether it be a fender bender or up, and including a fatal like we have tonight, a supervisor is always called to the scene. Not only to conduct investigation into the accident, but to look for signs of impairment, or any other administrative issues that they will have to investigate,” said IMPD Lt. Richard Riddle.
Riddle said the supervisor smelled alcohol on the officer’s breath and the officer was taken to Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital for a blood draw. Officials haven’t said if the officer is under or arrest or not.
This incident comes five years after a crash involving former IMPD Officer David Bisard. Bisard was convicted in a drunk-driving crash that killed a 30-year-old man. Bisard was an IMPD officer when prosecutors say he caused the crash that killed Eric Wells and injured two others.
The crash happened on 56th Street near Interstate 465 back in 2010. Bisard crashed his police car into a group of motorcyclists, critically injuring Kurt Weekly and Mary Mills and killing Eric Wells.
In 2013, Bisard was convicted on drunk driving and reckless homicide charges. Prosecutors said he was twice the legal limit at the time of the crash, while his defense argued he was not drunk. A judge sentenced Bisard to 16 years, three of them suspended for probation.
24-Hour News 8 spoke with prosecutors the day the guilty verdict came down.
“The prosecutor’s office prosecutes people who violate the law. And we do our best to hold them accountable under any circumstance, for what is that they do. Whether no matter the social background, economic background, no matter what job they hold. We enforce the law,” said Marion County Deputy Prosecutor Denise Robinson.
Friday morning, IMPD said the crash has impacted how it investigates crashes involving officers.
“A number of things have changed as far as our policy is concerned, when it comes to the on-scene investigation of officer-involved accidents,” said Lt. Riddle.
IMPD said officers must submit to a preliminary breath test after any accident. Officers are also not allowed to have alcohol in their police cars while on or off duty, unless it is of evidentiary value. There is also a special investigations unit which oversees incidents that may involve police wrongdoing.
This summer the state Supreme Court denied Bisard’s appeal.
IMPD OFFICER WELLNESS PROGRAM
IMPD does have a wellness program to help officers if they are going through anything — from issues with alcohol or drugs to martial problems, or depression.
“You have the opportunity to get better and keep your career and serve the citizens of Indianapolis like the vast majority of our officers do each and every day with honor and dignity,” IMPD Commander Christopher Bailey said last year.
Officers can get help through this program without fear of punishment. IMPD has been nationally recognized for this program, and traveled around the country this summer, teaching other departments how to start one of their own.
To learn more about the program click here.