Resource officers join crime fight in Indianapolis neighborhoods
By Steve Jefferson, WTHR Crimebeat reporter - bio | email
Metro police are moving nearly 100 officers into new positions to help fight crime in your neighborhood.
Neighborhood resource officers will pick up some of the crime calls as they come in as part of a new safety plan. The resource officers from every district in the city are already taking police runs, some in the city's worst neighborhoods.
Peggy Arnold has huge plans for a 4th of July celebration at her near north side home. She lives near Boulevard and West 30th Street in Center Township.
She is also excited that more police officers will be in her neighborhood when crime happens.
"It would great when officers can be right there when somebody gets shot or somebody gets robbed and then they will get caught," Arnold said.
An IMPD efficiency team put together by Public Safety Director Troy Riggs says "get more officers on the streets."
Eyewitness News learned there are currently 46 neighborhood resource officers already taking police runs from dispatch. Another 42 resource officers are available to do the same.
The officers focus on crime reduction in their police districts, working with community leaders and crime watch coordinators. In some cases, they even help coordinate social services for families in need and help with community events.
A neighborhood resource officer can also serve as the first line of communication for people working to fight crimes on their street.
"The original purpose for this to get some help to the backbone of this police department, those officers on patrol," Riggs said.
The reassignments will not impact special patrols like officers who help keep the Monon Trail safe. In some cases, the neighborhood resource officers will move to high crime areas for a certain period of time to take runs from dispatch.
But Riggs is confident, over time, high crime areas will see a difference.
Arnold says any increase in police officers is a plus in her 46208 zip code, which is one of the hot spots, especially when it comes to the crimes that concern her the most.
"The shooting, the killing," she said.
With killings in the Circle City up from this time last year, the increase in patrols couldn't come at a better time.
Riggs warns that some neighborhoods may not see the advantage right away if the resource officer they are used to seeing is away responding to 911 calls elsewhere. But eventually, Riggs wants every patrol officer operating with resources as the neighborhood resource officer throughout the department.
The reassignments for the neighborhood resource officers is just the beginning of a larger crime fighting plan.
"We will reveal more of our findings from the efficiency team next week, which will also help tackle crime in our city," Riggs said.
IMPD Chief Rick Hite is in charge of what officers are put in the police run mix on a day-to-day basis. Hite plans to hit the high crime areas the most so officers normally taking back to back run get the help they need every day.