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IMPD announces crime fighting technology upgrades

IMPD will have access to new license plate readers, more cameras and test a gunfire detection system.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis officials announced more crime fighting technology will hit the streets to assist police response and evidence gathering in the city's battle to curb violent crime.

The upgrades announced at a Friday morning news conference by Mayor Joe Hogsett, IMPD command staff, City-County Council Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee Chair Leroy Robinson and Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder, were made possible by the council's unanimous passage of American Rescue Plan Act funding and provide $9 million worth of new technology over the next three years.

The upgrades will include more license plate readers (LPRs) that can better detect and locate stolen vehicles, assist in AMBER Alerts and identify vehicles used at crime scenes. Mobile LPRs are already deployed on eight IMPD vehicles. IMPD will look to add more stationary LPR’s and evaluate speed detection tools designed to reduce severe crashes caused by reckless driving.

"This is a force multiplier. Some studies say one camera in a neighborhood can replace four officers because it’s always there. It's always watching something," said IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey. "The cameras aren’t afraid to testify in court. We have multiple incidents where cameras have helped us solve to prevent a human witness from having to step foot in a courtroom."

More neighborhood public safety cameras will be added on main thoroughfares and in high crime areas, boosting the current complement of cameras that have already proven effective in downtown locations and at intersections throughout the city. The cameras were first installed for Super bowl XLVI and have helped investigators solve cases. 

“This technology isn’t a solve-all. It isn’t the only solution. It’s merely an additional tool in the toolbox to combat violent crime,” said Rick Snyder, FOP president.

The cameras record day and night, and have been used to gather evidence used in court, including when witnesses have been reluctant to testify in criminal cases.

"Victims within our community expect us to solve cases. These technological enhancements help us meet that expectation,” said IMPD Major Matt Thomas.  

The department is also testing a new gunfire detection pilot to determine whether that technology is worth further investment. The devices mounted on poles and buildings use sound to specifically sort for gunfire. 

They will be deployed in a four-to-five mile square area to better pinpoint the sources of the sound to help officers respond to specific areas. Bailey called the detectors "a force multiplier" to cover ground when officers can't be everywhere at once.

Watch the full news conference in the video player:

The upgrades will help make IMPD "a cutting edge department," according to Chief Randal Taylor. "Be assured, this the right move for Indianapolis," he said during Friday's news conference.

“By investing in modern policing technology, we’re equipping IMPD with critical tools to combat the unacceptable levels of violence in Indianapolis neighborhoods,” said Mayor Hogsett.  

The upgrades are another part of an "expansive community effort" to control crime in the city, said Hogsett. "We all want to solve this problem." 

Members of the community will be able to provide input on where the technology should be located to help officers.

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