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IPFW Instructor Allen Etter Joins a Statewide Police Campaign

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Photo credit: Robin DeLaughter

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Written by: Mikaela ConleyMarch 18, 2015

“A man recently told me he simply couldn’t trust me due to my skin color and even more so my uniform,” said Allen County Sheriff’s Deputy Duane Romines.

IPFW visiting lecturer and instructor of video and intermedia, Allen Etter, has teamed up with the Allen County Sherriffs Department and other police departments in the area to bring another side of the police brutality and racism story into the public eye, with the help of IPFW photography students and professor Pete Bella.

In honor of Perry Renn, the Indianapolis officer who was shot and killed in July 2014 while responding to a 9-1-1 call, by a man whose family claimed that Renn should have just stayed in his car, Indiana officers started the statewide campaign and the Etter/ Romines team is the newest duo taking a stand.

Photo Credit: Robin DeLaughter

“The idea that the public would think that a police officer should stay in his car just sort of baffled me,” Etter said, “when I met up with sheriff’s deputy Duane Romines, and he was so passionate about what had happened, I thought, ‘we have to do something to help support this.’”

But, Etter’s interest in the field of criminal justice is no new story and for him, hits awful close to home.

Etter, who was actually accepted into the police academy himself, 18 years ago, said, “One of my wife’s relatives was a police officer and he died in a car wreck going to a scene…I’ve always had a passion for justice and respected police officers.”

The campaign features four different productions: a commercial, documentary, YouTube video, and profiles of local police telling their story and taking a stand, saying “I Will Get out Of My Vehicle.”

The profiles include conversations with local offices who have made a difference in the community, including a man who worked with his fellow officers to rescue a young boy from a burning building and resuscitate him, essentially bringing him back to life.

Etter hopes to feed the commercial out to local channels 15 or 21 as soon as possible and promote the rest through the Allen County Sheriffs Department Website and Youtube by the end of March.

“I find it disheartening to know that so many people view us as racist and violent by nature,” Romines said.

And that is where the goal of the campaign comes from.

Instead of taking a stance on the recent disputes that have brought police to the front of the Medias scope, Etter and Romines simply want to celebrate what it truly means to be an officer.

Etter enjoyed working with the officers in his office and around the community. “They were sharing what they’ve done in just one morning and it just blows me away”, he said. “What I really want is for people to see police officers as real people… The frustrating thing is that when people have a problem that want to call the police and if they do something that they perceive as wrong, then the police are suddenly these horrible people. We are trying to put a positive spin on who the police really are. There are good and bad police just like there are good and bad people. But there is more good than bad.”