IMPD detective believes job training is key to halting crime trend
The senseless violence in Indianapolis has people concerned and looking for ways to stop the cycle in our community.
But the solutions are complicated, like how to help unemployed young people and children landing in the criminal justice system.
One IMPD officer believes he has some answers. Detective Harry Dunn is taking his solution to the heart of a high-crime ZIP code to change people and save lives.
"The kids say 'I'm getting in trouble, 'cause they ain't got no jobs'," said a man outside Tee's Barbershop on the east side of Indianapolis.
"That'st he first thing they say, but they really ain't want no jobs, some of 'em," responded Lorenzo Miller.
The men gathered outside the barbershop have no easy answers when it comes to crime and this city's youth.
"Some of 'em do and some of 'em don't. Yeah, some do and some don't," said Miller and his friends.
He's retired now, but the 75-year-old Miller worked since he was a young man.
"See, I come up on the rough side of the mountain," he said.
He doesn't recognize the world he sees now from the one he grew up in.
"People don't care no more about peoples like they used to when I was coming up," Miller said.
Just three blocks south of where Miller sits is the alley where IMPD Ofc. Perry Renn lost his life when police say he was shot by 25-year-old Major Davis Jr.
"You got a choice. Everybody has a choice. Either it's the right choice or the wrong choice, see?" Miller said. "That's the way I look at it and he made the wrong choice."
Dunn was one of the first on the scene the night Renn was killed. Like Miller, Dunn's talking about choices these days, too. The better ones he wants to help young people make.
"I'm gonna need your help, brother," Dunn told Miller.
"All right," Miller replied.
Dunn's battleground is the empty school right across from Tee's Barbershop. It's where Dunn wants to put a vocational job skills center as part of the HIM By HER Foundation he founded.
"I'm trying to fight back," he said. "In this particular ZIP code, we had an officer shot a couple months ago, that was shot in the vest here. Two years ago, we had an officer that was killed in this same ZIP code and here we are again, in the same ZIP code. There has to be solutions."
Dunn wants to show people picking up a paycheck is always a better choice than picking up a gun.
"I'm from this neighborhood and we need to be able to say, 'Hey, these kids need jobs'," Dunn said. "We really believe that we have to focus on the generation to come to protect future officers to come and we have to start now."
The sooner, the better, say folks in the neighborhood.
"That would help. It can't hurt nothin' and it would help," Miller said.
There's one lesson, though. Miller says, the center needs to teach first.Ain't
t nobody gonna give you nothing. You got to go out there and get it," Miller said.
That's the reason he can sit outside a barbershop on a sunny day, debating what's gone wrong and what can make it right again.
"You got to crawl before you walk, see?" he said.