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IMPD to expand use of technology in crime fight

"I think it's a game changer," said an IMPD deputy chief of their plan to employ more technology.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis police are banking on technology to help them curb illegal activity around the city.

Right now, officers patrol the streets and increasingly use cameras positioned all over the city.

"Crime doesn't stay in one place," said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams. "If police go there, we displace it."

Adams said the technology they use in the effort to prevent crime or find those responsible for it is important.

"I think it's a game changer," he said.

That's why the department brought together its state and community partners Thursday to announce they want to expand the department's Incident Analysis Center at East District headquarters, where police monitor video feeds coming in from cameras all around the city.

"We need to get to a 24/7 operation," Adams said. "We're not there yet because of staffing, but we need to get there." 

IAC is staffed during business hours Monday through Friday and has expanded hours over the weekend.

The department's 2023 budget is moving toward that with money to hire for seven more professional positions and one supervisor to help monitor the real-time video feeds coming in.

Adding to expansion efforts are funds from Project Safe Neighborhoods, a nationwide initiative that brings together federal, state and local partners to figure out where violent crime is happening and how to stop it.

Those funds will be used to help build out of a monitoring room at East District headquarters. 

"We're trying to save lives. We are working to reduce violence, to reduce gun violence so that our communities are a safer place to be," said Zachary Myers, U.S. Attorney for Indiana's Southern District.

According to Adams, technology in the form of more mobile trailer cameras will help in that effort. The department currently has six mobile trailer cameras in use and hope to to add four more next year.

"The technology helps us be a little bit more focused. It helps us be more dialed in as to who may be driving the violence," Adams explained.

More cameras and more staff to monitor the videos coming from them in real time, said IMPD brass, means more efficient policing at a time when departments across the country are struggling to fill open positions.

"As crime continues to be in one area, we can deploy quickly through our logistics, through IAC, and get these deployed to an area that may be experiencing a little bit of a crime increase," Adams said.

IMPD won't say technology is the reason the city has seen a decrease in homicides and non-fatal shootings compared to this time last year, but they believe cameras and the eyes all over the city they provide are certainly helping.

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