INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Claiming a National Public Safety Partnership will put IMPD, “on the cutting edge of violent crime reduction and prevention,” Mayor Joe Hogsett welcomed a U.S. Department of Justice three-year program which will provide more resources and expertise for Indianapolis’ battle against violence.
“Chief Roach, you lead, in my unbiased opinion, the greatest police department in the nation,” said Hogsett before he turned to his IMPD chief who is overseeing a force rocked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed motorist who fled police in June and brought on an FBI probe for possible criminal or civil rights violations.
“The violence that is occurring in our city is not reflective of our city and nothing that can’t be surmounted,” said Chief Bryan Roach who can point to a leveling off of murder and non-fatal shootings compared to a year ago but finds himself hampered by an antiquated, faulty, half-built, understaffed data and intel collection system that doesn’t talk to other law enforcement networks in central Indiana and is in transition after a notable contractual failure that cost the city $12 million.
“We don’t do it as well as we would like to do it,” said Roach. “We look forward to having a more robust crime analysis, if you will, or intelligence, so we can be led better, so it truly is the data that will lead us.
“Our technology is kind of upside down but the good thing is we’ve got a new computer aided dispatch system coming on, we’ll have a new records management system. The data is all there but as you know it’s siloed so it’s a matter of pulling all that together.”
Indianapolis’ willingness to embrace data-led policing captured the attention of Department of Justice officials as far back as 2015.
12 American cities have been chosen for the DOJ partnership which will include the appointment of a liaison to walk the city and IMPD through its violence reduction programs, according to U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler.
“Federal partnerships, crime analysis, technology, reduction of gun violence, criminal justice collaboration, community engagement and investigations,” said Minkler. “Those will be the seven focus areas.”
Former Washington, D.C., and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe, a retired law enforcement veteran with a reputation for progressive-community oriented policing, will help guide Indianapolis through the partnership.
Chief Roach said Monroe is well acquainted with the type of community policing priorities that IMPD is developing so that residents will have a stake in the safety of their own neighborhoods and, “can develop crime plans of their own.
“So often we as a police department come to the community saying, ‘Here’s what we’re doing.’ If that. A lot of times we just do it.
“I think part of that engagement is making sure that those communities understand what our enforcement tactics to the extent we can but at the same where we are where we’re at and then getting to us not guide what the crime plan is but them developing that crime plan for those specific geographic areas and then how do we fulfill a role in that.”
Roach said his commanders would spend the afternoon with Monroe so that he might fully comprehend the challenge the city and IMPD face in reducing violent crime.