Beech Grove police look for answers to increasing Walmart runs

Police have made nearly 500 runs to the Beech Grove Walmart so far this year.
We've seen the viral video from the Beech Grove Walmart of two women brawling in the aisles.

This week, we also had a fatal crash involving a shoplifter from that same store who was trying to get away from police. But it's the smaller calls the police department is getting each day that are becoming a burden for Beech Grove.

Now, Walmart and city officials have worked out a plan to meet to address the problem of escalating police calls.

While the video of the fight has gone viral, capturing the attention of the nation and embarrassing the state, it is also a symbol of a much bigger problem.

"We do see a high amount of runs to that Walmart. Most of those are two-man runs. When there is a two-man run and we have a three-man day shift, I have one officer left for the city. On middle shift, I have two officers left for the city to cover while two officers are at Walmart," Beech Grove Deputy Chief Michael Maurice said Wednesday.

Numbers don't lie. From February through December last year, Beech Grove police made 789 calls to this Walmart. So far in five months this year, the department has made 489 runs to the Beech Grove Walmart and 473 arrests.

That is counting three runs and one arrest from yesterday.

"We are a lot more reactive instead of proactive, being able to get out in the streets and try to deter more crime. We are just reactive," Maurice continued.

Authorities are still reviewing video of the scuffle and Walmart said in a statement that the people involved will not be allowed back in the store.

But now, Beech Grove police are hoping Walmart might consider adding an off-duty officer to stem the number of calls to the property.

"It's very taxing, because you have to put a detective on it, look at filing charges when there is an arrest to be made. Not to mention when we put a jail wagon down there to make an arrest, that is pulling it away from IMPD that may be needed and we have it down at the store," Maurice admitted.

The off-duty officer would be able to handle situations at the store and then Beech Grove might only have to dispatch one officer instead of two. It's not much, but it least it is an issue that is on the table to be discussed.