INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 8, 2016) – Monday was a big day for IMPD. Nine officers were promoted to captain, in charge of teams of police fighting the city’s growing problem with violent crime.
Since 2014, IMPD has focused on fighting crime in the city’s six focus areas. The department is now taking a new approach with officers having a greater presence in the neighborhoods they patrol.
“We need to think of our community as family as well and the sad fact is, our family is struggling right now,” said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs.
2015 was one of the deadliest years on record in Indianapolis. With a new mayor and police chief, there are now considerations to overhaul the existing police system.
“We’re going to probably get away from a hard delineation of a particular area. Certainly we need to focus on the areas that have a disproportionate amount of crime,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
First up, there will likely be changes to the city’s six crime focus areas. The boundaries may be redrawn to address more widespread violent crime. Of this year’s 14 homicides, only three fall in the city’s focus areas.
“Every part of town is different. It’s a little bit of a different approach. We’re not going to be as centralized as people have seen the department in the past. Commanders are going to be able to act like commanders; they’re going to be able to make decisions,” said Riggs.
Riggs knows the solution to solving Indy’s spike in violence won’t be a simple one. Another change being implemented is a community policing strategy, or “boots on the ground.” Officers will spend more time on the streets getting to know the people they patrol and gaining their trust.
“We’re looking at how many officers we can put in the focus areas and a beat instead of having these large zones where officers can’t get to know the individuals that live and work in those areas. We want to go to a beat structure where our officers are working day in and day out with community members,” said Riggs.
It’s a welcome change for officers like newly-promoted Captain Chris Bailey. Bailey is in charge of the north district, one of the city’s deadliest.
“From the police department’s perspective, we’re going to keep the pressure on the people we know that are causing the disorder. We’re not just going out in the neighborhood with these random, directed patrols, where we cast out this large net and hope we find a big fish,” said Bailey.
A new approach for a new administration in a new year.
“Those are pivotal starting points that I think will turn the corner. Now, the truth is, it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Hogsett.
Some other strategies of note include using a new intelligence database with information collected from officers, as well as from residents to show crime trends in each city neighborhood.