IMPD detectives deal with heavy workload amid record homicide numbers

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INDIANAPOLIS — One man died and another was gravely wounded following a shooting on Indy’s near east side.

Police are still investigating exactly what led to the deadly shooting.

Police were called to Marlowe Avenue just before midnight after a fight between a large group of people turned deadly. Police on scene admitted the constant violence is taking a toll on officers.

“The worst part is the fatigue and the lack of sleep,” said IMPD Major Harold Turner. “Because you go through the rotation so rapidly.”

In fact, with 163 homicides and counting, detectives are carrying a higher workload than normal.

“I want to give 100% to this homicide victim’s family, but unfortunately that time might have to be divided,” said Turner.

Just one mile south of Marlowe, a fight between neighbors turned deadly on Harlan Street last month.

Larry Mathes, 57, died after being shot to death in his own front yard. Police haven’t arrested anyone for his death.

“I’m angry. I’m mad. I’m frustrated. I’m pissed. I want something done,” said the victim’s widow, Joyce Mathes.

She feels IMPD hasn’t worked hard enough to solve her husband’s death, but police insist they work around the clock to provide justice for every family.

“It’s like they just don’t care. He ain’t important to them, but he was important to me,” said Mathes.

“It takes a special person to deal with this kind of tragedy day in and day out and they do it because they care,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Craig McCartt.

Deputy Chief McCartt says right now IMPD has 27 homicide detectives. The ideal workload, as set by the FBI, is four to five cases per year.

IMPD detectives have surpassed that.

As a result, the department is taking steps to ease that burden, like assigning other officers to work overdose deaths, allowing homicide detectives to focus on violent crimes.

“I mean ideally we would love to assign a detective to one case and they would have nothing else to do until that case is resolved, but unfortunately there are lots of cases for them to work,” said McCartt.

To put this year’s numbers in perspective, last year Indianapolis didn’t top 160 homicides until early December.

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