IMPD deputy chief dies following I-70 crash in Plainfield

IMPD Deputy Chief James Waters

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) announced Thursday that  Deputy Chief James “Jim” Waters, 48, passed away after being involved in a serious crash over the weekend.

The crash occurred Sunday just after 1 p.m. on I-70 near the State Road 267 intersection. Waters, who is head of investigations, was transported from the crash in critical condition.

Fire officials say Waters was traveling eastbound on the interstate when a semi hit his vehicle from behind. They say there may have been debris in the right lane of EB I-70 that his vehicle slowed for or came to a stop. He was off-duty at the time and was driving an unmarked police vehicle.

IMPD Deputy Chief James “Jim” Waters

The driver of the 2000 Peterbilt semi was 64-year-old David Carter of Oklahoma, he was reportedly not injured.

IMPD said Waters passed away Thursday afternoon at 2:20 p.m.

Waters served IMPD for nearly 30 years first as a civilian employee and then as an officer. During his career, IMPD says Chief Waters served in a variety of roles that included Commander of East District (2011-2014), Assistant Chief (2014-2017), and most recently, Deputy Chief of Investigations – an appointment by Chief Bryan Roach in January.

“Jim has served with nobility, dignity, honor, and courage,” said Chief Roach. “Jim comes from a long family lineage of courageous law enforcement leaders. His presence will surely be missed, but his distinguished career and service to this community will be forever remembered.”

Chief Waters’ many accolades include the Medal of Bravery, the Mayor’s Community Service Award, and a Certificate of Commendation from the Red Cross Hall of Fame.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett issued the following statement:

It is with heavy hearts that my entire family and I offer our condolences to the family of IMPD Deputy Chief Jim Waters.

Chief Waters comes from a long line of public servants and dedicated his life to serving Indianapolis. He worked tirelessly to build bridges between the police department he served and the community he loved.

His untimely passing is nothing short of a tragedy, but the countless officers who worked beside Chief Waters know the legacy he leaves behind will continue to inspire generations of public safety and neighborhood leaders.

Effective immediately, I am asking that Marion County flags be flown at half-staff, and Steph and I ask the entire Indianapolis community to keep Chief Waters’ family – including his brothers and sisters in blue at IMPD – in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Anyone who wishes to send cards, flowers, or other expressions of condolences, are asked to send them to the IMPD Chaplin’s Office: 50 N Alabama St, Suite T-120 46204.

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