By Sarah Roebuck
INDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes when a police officer or firefighter tells a bystander to “stay back,” it can be left up to one’s interpretation. Soon there will be no doubt, as a new law in Indiana sets a minimum for how far people must stay away from an active scene.
House Bill 1186, which was signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb, now sets a minimum spectator distance of 25 feet, The Times of Northwest Indiana reported.
If police officers and firefighters do not feel the need to keep bystanders 25 feet away, first responders are not required to do so, the bill states.
The new law specifies that the “emergency area” can include an area 25 feet in all directions from the perimeter of an emergency area, such as a fire or car accident.
According to the law, if a person knowingly or intentionally approaches within 25 feet of a law enforcement officer after the officer orders the person to stop, that person can be arrested and charged with a Class C misdemeanor.