INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is providing new details on how the department plans to roll out $9 million worth of crime fighting technology.
On Wednesday, Commander Matthew Thomas with IMPD’s Criminal Investigations Division gave an update to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee.
“This is an opportunity for us to invest in ways that keep our workplaces safe,” said Thomas. “Keep our public places safe.”
During the meeting, Thomas provided the committee with a breakdown of the $9 million budget, how much had been spent so far on each program, and also laid out the department’s road map to fully launch all budgeted technology by 2026.
“As soon as you’re able to get successful outcomes for victims of crime, people get bought in pretty quickly,” said Thomas.
In the fall of 2021, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a comprehensive violence reduction plan funded by $150 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. Thanks to those federal funds, roughly $9 million was approved and went towards updating and adding modern policing technology.
Right now, IMPD said it is in the process of testing three different gunshot detection systems – Flock, ShotSpotter, and J and M Security.
This technology is designed to detect when shots are fired, pinpoint the location, and immediately alert IMPD officers. According to public records, the technology will first be tested in a 5-square mile area on the city’s east side and near east side.
“It’s just as if [officers] heard it on the radio themselves,” said Thomas. “They go and take action, but what we anticipate is that there will be a shorter timeframe between the time of incident and the officers learning of a shooting incident.”
Thomas said that in the coming weeks, the vendors will be in east side neighborhoods installing devices on poles and buildings. According to IMPD, neighbors may be approached by these companies and asked to put a device on their residence or business, but participation is completely voluntary.
IMPD said the goal of gunshot detection systems is to shorten officer response times during shots fired incidents, alert IMPD to unreported shots fired incidents, and assist with evidence collection like shell casings.
The budget will also cover an additional six mobile camera trailers, which can be delivered to an area and stream video in real-time back to the incident analysis center. Thomas said IMPD detectives have already seen great results using this technology in entertainment zones, like Broad Ripple, by identifying high-risk behavior by armed individuals, dispatching officers, and deescalating situations.
“If we’ve got a series of crimes that have happened — crimes of violence — then that’s something that we can place there that’s visibly present and gives the ability to do those virtual assessments,” said Thomas. “See if things are starting to spin up in that neighborhood. What the quality of life or residence is when the marked police vehicle is not there.”
Lastly, Thomas announced plans to bring on an additional 127 automated license plate readers (ALPRs). Right now, IMPD has 70 license plate readers city-wide, and eight mounted to police vehicles.
IMPD said the license plate readers allow investigators to corroborate and refute witness statements, but also provide leads when a vehicle is used in a crime or a person is at risk.