INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (January 24, 2016)–New IMPD Assistant Chief Randy Taylor knew he had a tough act to follow in former Metro Chief Rick Hite when it came to being everywhere in the community as the face of the police department.
Taylor is a former Marion County Sheriff’s Office investigations commander who spent the last three years in IMPD’s Community Affairs branch.
“I’ve built some relationships that have helped out with that over the last several years,” said Taylor who estimated he attended 70 funerals for victims of violence last year. “I’ve had people in Community Affairs who go way back in the community and the community knows them and are comfortable talking with them and that’s what I’m trying to replicate here in Investigations.”
Taylor was named to his post by Police Chief Troy Riggs who watched Hite build those relationships during his own previous tenure as public safety director from 2012-15.
“I still plan on attending as many of the funerals as I can because I think it’s important to let them know that the department is compassionate about those things,” said Taylor.
In year that saw 144 criminal homicides, Taylor hasn’t attended a South Butler/Tarkington funeral in more than three months as the northside community recently celebrated 100 days of peace after four murders in less than sixty days last summer and fall.
“It’s all about building relationships in the community and building relationships with IMPD and different organizations and you got to stay vigilant on the type of living you want to have for your children and your grandchildren,” said Damon Lee, founder of a group called WADE, named after a murdered friend last year. “It can be done all over the city. Indianapolis has always been one of the best cities in the world to me but it’s pretty much up to the communities to stand up and take their communities back.”
Last fall Fred Richardson said if he saw someone breaking into a neighbor’s car, he would call police.
That pledge got Richardson labeled as a “snitch” in South B/T.
He challenged those who threatened him to come forward.
They never did.
“We’re doing something right,” he said. “The fathers and us in the WADE organization, we’re out here. We’re visible. And we’re talking. And I think the conversation is really what’s doing it.
“People that live in the neighborhood have to care.”
Taylor met with Lee, Richardson and other neighbors at the corner of 40th Street and Boulevard Place to get acquainted and pledge their mutual support in the fight to keep crime at bay for another 100 days.
“It looks like they’re turning it around and, of course, we will have to sustain it, but we can replicate that in some other neighborhoods,” said Taylor. ”They have the biggest stake in this, the people that live here, and it looks like they’ve done a great job of being involved and staying involved.”
Lee realizes it took a partnership between neighbors and police to put local dope dealers on the run and keep violence down in his neighborhood.
“It makes a huge difference that you actually get a face and a name and you get somebody that you can actually talk to,” said Lee, “especially when they’re at the top of the food chain and they let you know that they care and let you know that it is okay to fight back because people are going to have your back within IMPD.”
Like the intersection of 40th and Boulevard, such cooperation is a two way street.