A New Name - An Old Responsibility
On February 21, 1998 Governor O'Bannon appointed Penny Davis to be the first female Superintendent in department history. Davis joined the Indianapolis Police Department in 1968, and later became the first woman assigned to I.P.D.'s Investigations Division before resigning as a District Captain in 1997.
With national attention becoming increasingly focused on the harmful effects of tobacco the Department inherited an old responsibility – tobacco enforcement. In 1996 the department was chosen to conduct the federally mandated Synar tobacco retailer compliance checks. On July 1, 2001 the Excise Police became responsible for administering the state's Tobacco Retailer Inspection Program (T.R.I.P.)
In recognition of its newly added responsibilities, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission was renamed the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission effective July 1, 2001. To help identify violations the Commission established a toll-free, 24-hour, complaint hotline, 1-800-STOP-EM. Officers incorporated tobacco information into their school programs, and also conducted training for retailers and their employees. The 2003 General Assembly required all tobacco retailers to register with the A.T.C. Officers also began investigating complaints regarding violations of the state's fair trade laws governing minimum pricing.
On July 30, 2004 Superintendent Davis resigned from the department. Governor Joe Kernan praised her for her efforts stating, "Penny accomplished a great deal during her term, making sure her officers had state-of-the-art equipment and taking on the additional responsibilities of enforcing tobacco laws and regulations." During her tenure as Superintendent officers were issued laptop computers, upgraded pagers, and digital, 800 mega-hertz radios. Much of the equipment - and thirteen new officers - came from Master Tobacco Settlement money paid to the states by tobacco companies.
In its first six years the TRIP program helped reduce the number of retailers willing to illegally sell tobacco to minors from 40% (2000) to an all-time low of 12.7 (2006).