INDIANAPOLIS, Ind - Following the largest warrant sweep in the history of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, officers continued the push for better neighborhood relationships as they walked their neighborhood beats Monday.
“Operation First Step” rounded up 26 individuals who were wanted on outstanding warrants Saturday. IMPD officials say such operations are not possible without the help of residents who are comfortable sharing information about known criminals with detectives.
“You know about things that are going on in your neighborhood,” said IMPD Sgt. Kendale Adams. “You know who the people are, you know who the criminals are.”
Part of the ongoing push to bring police and communities closer together, and falling under IMPD’s new beat patrol system, officers are getting out of their police cars and patrolling their assigned neighborhoods on foot. The result, they say, is much more personal interaction with the residents they serve and protect.
“Having that opportunity to get out of our car, go up, shake someone’s hand, let them know that police are human,” Adams said. “The big divide is our car. If we’re in our car and we’re not engaging with the community, we’re not finding out information that they know.”
“On foot, we’re more approachable, we can see more, we can hear more,” said IMPD Officer Alfred Gomez. “People want to talk to us more, they come out of their houses, out of their back yards.”
IMPD has made several recent arrests in unsolved homicide cases because of witnesses feeling comfortable to speak with detectives. The department is continuing efforts to make more witnesses feel comfortable sharing information, reversing a trend which has been a years long problem between communities and law enforcement.
“We’re hoping that these particular partnerships, these particular relationships will help us solve crimes that may be unsolved,” Adams said. “Help us solve shootings, help us solve problems before they raise to shootings.”
Audrey Garrett, who lives near 16th Street and Tibbs Avenue, says seeing officers walking down her street makes her feel a little safer.
“We can alert the officers by hand, by mouth, instead of him driving down the street and we’re saying hey stop,” Garrett said.
Adams said residents can expect to see the foot patrols continue in the future. As part of the neighborhood beat system, officers are instructed to patrol on foot on a daily basis.