Central Indiana community wants residents to know their officers


NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) - A central Indiana community is trying a new approach to public safety. Noblesville is switching to neighborhood policing.

The police department has created 16 new police districts with at least two officers assigned to each district.

"Rather than (having officers) rotating from district to districts, officers will stay in the district for at least a one-year term so they begin to learn the neighborhood and who community members are and so people can start to put faces with a name," Capt. Jon Williams said.

Sgt. Matt McGovern explained how it would work as he drove thru the Wellington Northeast neighborhood.

"This isn't in response to the community asking for (district policing) this is just what we wanted to do to be more proactive," McGovern said, "and let them know how they can get a hold of us."

He said they can go to the police department's web site and access an interactive map showing the 16 new police districts.

"You find where you live on the map," he said. "So, if you live in District 3, you click on District 3," and it links you to the emails of the officers assigned to that district.

McGovern said it does not replace 911, it's not meant for emergencies. It's more for nuisances or questions people might have.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we heard about traffic complaints and parking complaints," he said. "We're also very proactive in our solicitor program where people go door-to-door."

The owner of Linden Tree gift shop said she wasn't yet aware of the program, but liked the concept.

Rori Anderson said, "we still have shoplifting and that type of thing, so you want to call someone you know or can spread the word that something's not right out there. It's just really great when everyone knows each other."

Long-time resident John Erney agreed.

"I think it's a really good idea to get out and meet police, like I said I hardly know any of them anymore," he said.

Police just launched the program last week, primarily using Nextdoor, Facebook and other social media to inform residents. They say more information will follow as they continue the roll out.