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Experts offer advice on top priorities for new IMPD chief

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has a new boss. On Wednesday Mayor Joe Hogsett named Bryan Roach as the department’s new chief.

With record murder numbers two years in a row, Roach inherits what a lot of people have dubbed a public safety crisis.

Changing those numbers is no easy task, but it will be the new chief’s top priority.

Gunned down riding his bicycle just blocks from home, Indianapolis police are still searching for whoever killed Joshua Cobbs late last year. That case and nearly half of all the murders in 2016 remain unsolved.

The job of reversing that trend now falls to Chief Roach.

“When you’re chief you`re kind of the father for the city and when things happen people look to you for the answers,” said former IMPD chief Rick Hite.

Four years after being sworn in as IMPD chief himself, and a year removed from the job, Hite praised Roach`s hiring but also recalls how difficult the job can be.

“It`s an awesome responsibility to be responsible for 200 million in cash and over a million people’s lives that you make decisions about every single day,” said Hite.

During his introduction on Wednesday, Roach admitted his first tasks will be reviewing the department’s policies regarding police pursuits and whether more resources need to be put into the city`s homicide unit. While the number of murders has gone way up, the number of homicide detectives hasn’t increased in the last decade.

“Nothing will happen to address the crime issue unless we provide the full resources to the men and women policing the city,” said FOP president Rick Snyder.

Still, some of those discussions began when Hite sat in the chief`s chair and changing staffing levels doesn`t happen overnight.

“We looked at staffing in homicide for example, but it takes 3 to 5 years to develop good police officers and then another five to become good homicide investigators,” said Hite.

Hite says the other big task for chief Roach right out of the gate will be getting to know the public and building the trust needed for change to succeed.

“It`s not 9 to 5 job. You have to get out and press the flesh. Get to know people. Walk the streets and shake hands,” said Hite.

Despite being a 26-year police veteran, Roach said Wednesday that talking to the media and being on camera is not his favorite thing, but he is slated to sit down with FOX59 one on one next week to talk about his plans going forward.

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