IMPD officers not allowed into facility days after multiple overdoses

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Police officers were not allowed in a downtown facility Friday morning, just days after four people overdosed inside.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officers arrived at the Volunteers of America (VOA) building, located on Capitol Avenue, just after 2 a.m. to do proactive patrols.

“We want to mitigate crime but we also want to make sure we prevent it,” said IMPD Sgt. Chris Wilburn.

According to a police report, the vice president of the facility informed the officers it was against their protocol to let them go into the residential area.

On Tuesday, four residents at the offender re-entry facility were taken to the hospital because they were showing the symptoms of a drug overdose.

A VOA spokeswoman said it was possible the overdose substance, which may have been spice, was smuggled into the facility by an offender and shared with others. The spokeswoman also said VOA was cooperating with police.

CBS4 reached out to VOA again Friday to learn why officers were not allowed inside.

Stephanie Aubill said local police must get prior approval to enter the facility from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Federal Probation officials. She insisted this has nothing to do with refusing to work with police and said they are just trying to follow the rules of their federal contract.

On March 27, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said it “does not have the authority to approve or deny authorization for police to enter into an RRC, as they are all privately contracted.  The contract only requires the RRC contractor to notify the BOP of police visits, not request authorization for police to visit.”

Bob Akers, the deputy chief probation officer for the U.S. Probation Office, said it’s his belief that AVO has the ultimate say on who they do or do not allow into the building without a warrant — since it’s private property.

IMPD says they are used to running into some private businesses that do not give them access. But, they will continue to monitor the situation with drug use around the downtown area.

“What we don’t want to do is become an occupying force,” Wilburn said. “We don’t do things by force unless we absolutely have to and we do that through the courts.”

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