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IMPD chief reflects on violent 2021, looks ahead to new year

IMPD Chief Randy Taylor said he hopes new technology and more officers will help reduce crime in 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD Police Chief Randal Taylor is looking back on Indy's most deadly year for homicides. 

With the new year almost here, he is looking back at 2021 - looking ahead to what needs to happen for a safer new year.

"Hopefully, this year will bring a different attitude with people, a feeling of hope that reduces the violence," said Taylor.

Taylor sat down with 13News following a record year of homicides. Indianapolis saw 271 this year. He said it was a perfect storm between the pandemic and systemic issues. 

"They are people getting upset over whatever, Facebook posts or feeling disrespected and of course, we still have people involved in the drug game," said Taylor. "Regardless of what that reasoning is, I'm always going to fail to understand why people feel it necessary to pull a trigger or pull a knife."

Taylor said he's proud of his more than 1,650 officers still working through a difficult year. 

"Without their willingness to take on this difficult job, we'd be in a world of hurt. Those officers have done a fantastic job throughout the year. They've been through a lot of things and they've coped with those things, and I'm proud of them," he said.

Accomplishments this past year included using police body camera videos to get information to the public, especially during officer-involved shootings. Officers also met with the families of the person involved. 

"A lot of the public wanted to make sure that they were going to be able to see the videos, and I made a promise to them that I would show those," Taylor said. "I think just our transparency is the biggest thing I'm taking away from 2021."

This January, Indy is bringing in national experts to help curb gun violence, adding dozens of outreach workers and life coaches to the street. 

"That's going to be the goal for 2022, is to try to find whatever that answer is and find out how to get people to stop pulling guns, and 'this is the way to solve a problem' because obviously it's not," said Taylor.

IMPD is adding new technology, like license plate readers and cameras.

 Taylor also plans to hire 100 officers. 

"I could put an officer on every corner, and if someone is determined that they're going to shoot someone, I think they'll probably do it. The goal is to get them to the point where they don't feel the need to pull a gun," Taylor said.

IMPD will host meetings in every district starting in mid-January. 

"I want to hear what [community members] have to say," he said.

He said a safer new year will take help from everyone. 

"Just like the public holds the police accountable, we need to hold the community accountable as a whole, all of us as a whole, with what we're doing, how we act and how we behave," Taylor said.

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