INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD shares the community’s desire for a department that reflects the community. But this effort is a major ongoing challenge for the agency.
Chief Randal Taylor said the next class of recruits will likely include 40 to 45 people, but they hoped for between 70 and 80. The department would ideally have 1,743 officers, but Taylor said it is about 70 people short of that.
“Those are just the challenges that come for a variety of reasons,” Taylor said. “One, a lot of departments are looking for the same people.”
The chief said they might lose some officers to suburban departments, but they are mainly competing against cities similar in size to Indy.
“The professionalism, and the ability to do different jobs, and the larger opportunities for promotions and all the things that the IMPD offers, they’ll come to us, but maybe we’re competing with a Columbus, OH or a Louisville, KY,” Taylor said.
Taylor explains recruiting officers of different races is an even bigger challenge. According to Census data, Indy is roughly 60% white and 29% Black.
“I’ve told people that I want the department to look like the community we serve as well,” Taylor said. “So, right now, were still probably about 70% white, about a little over 14% Black.”
Taylor heard concerns over a lack of diversity in the department when he took part in a panel discussion with the Northwest Community Resource District Council Wednesday night.
“The community said that they garnered the fact that he did take time, that he’s willing to talk, as well as our Prosecutor Mears,” Rev. Tony Alexander said. “That goes a long way.”
Trust and sincerity are things Alexander believes is vital. He said joining the department can be a complex decision for African Americans.
“I’ll put it like this, African American police officers now, many of them will tell you they had to get past their own experiences, the things that they went through before they were an officer,” Alexander said.
Along with African American officers, Taylor said he is hopeful to see more diverse recruits, such as Asian, Hispanic, women, and Burmese members as well.