Bill would allow Adult Protective Services workers to carry guns, wear body armor

INDIANAPOLIS -- Legislation filed this week would allow investigators with state Adult Protective Services to carry handguns, and would require the program to provide body armor for its workers in the field.

Adult Protective Services is a state-funded, federally mandated program under the Older Americans Act and while the investigators are handled by the county prosecutors, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration administers the program.

APS investigators look into abuse and neglect of Hoosiers age 18 and over.

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Rep. Karlee Macer (D-Indianapolis) filed a bill that would also authorize law enforcement and APS workers to take endangered adults into emergency custody under certain conditions and would require FSSA to make emergency housing available for them.

Adult Protective Services currently has 17 full time workers and 46 full time investigators.

Seventeen investigators were added after FSSA increased the prosecutor’s budget by $1.1 million this state fiscal year, according to Marni Lemons, FSSA spokesperson.

Macer’s bill would establish caseload requirements for Adult Protective Services, including that workers could have no more than 12 active cases or 17 cases they are monitoring or supervising.

“I think it’s just important that we recognize that the great individuals who are out doing this job, that we fully protect them,” said Macer.”I wanted to make a statement and recognize that they’re putting themselves at some risk when they’re knocking on people’s doors to check on the people that are the most vulnerable.”

Macer said she got the idea for the legislation while riding with investigators, as well as her work with a local retirement community.

She does not expect the bill to go far in the General Assembly.

“It may be overreaching, but it’s important for us to have these conversations,” said Macer.  “Adult Protective Services is underfunded, but it’s not just a funding issue.”

If you suspect abuse or neglect against an adult, you can call the APS statewide hotline 1 (800) 992-6978.

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