Police and the community come together downtown for ‘Day of Unity’

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By: Marisela Burgos

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Today marked the beginning of a month long celebration of unity.

The event was called ‘A Day of Unity’. It lasted an hour and a half. It was held at the circle. The idea to have events the entire month and throughout the city came from IMPD Officer Perry Renn’s widow. She wanted something done to unite people and police officers.

“I just wanted to come down here (to) support the police department ‘cause they’re up against a lot of things that are going on,” Marcella Dukett said.

Today, people had the opportunity to interact with a number of police officers. IMPD Chief Hite said this is about celebrating life and services.

“If you watch the national news, there’s always something going on with police departments across the nation in our community, we don’t need that. We don’t want that,” IMPD Sgt. Curtis Hanks said.

In the last year, two IMPD officers were killed in the line of duty. Officer Rod Bradway was killed nearly a year ago and Officer Perry Renn was killed this July. Today, IMPD and the community honored officers like Renn and Bradway and they celebrated the hard work many men and women continue to do -now- to protect our streets.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of Perry Renn’s out there. Yes. They have different names like Julie, Debra, Tom, Frank, but there are hundreds or thousands of Perry Renn’s out there every single day going to work for you (and) going to work to protect you,” the FOP said.

Today was also about remembering the victims of crime too and working on making Indianapolis better.

“We ride the escorts and the bad thing is we’ve done too many of those. We’d rather have things like this where the community becomes our partner,” Sgt. Hanks said.

The mother of a recent homicide victim attended the event because she wanted the opportunity to show people why they should be a part of an event like this. Donna Jaffke lost her son in January when he was killed, delivering pizza to the Capital Place Apartments. Donna Jaffke handed out balloons with the name of an Indianapolis murder victim as well as a number next to it. She said her son was the 17th person killed.

“I want the murdering to stop. I want anyone that might be thinking of murder for one to know we aren’t going to put up with it anymore and the more people who gather and do events like this –the better off our city will be,” Donna Jaffke said.

There will be a number of events throughout the city this month like a Beyond the Badge 5K run and walk.

Officer Renn’s widow wrote a letter to the city, regarding the Day of Unity and it was read at the event. It said:

“The Indianapolis Day of Unity is a wonderful opportunity for the people of our community and our police officers to come together, to create mutual respect and to appreciate one another. It can be very easy to lose the momentum of positive progress in the community when concentrating on negativity of the past. Our citizens build our city while our officers protect it. I believe that it is time for both sides to unite as one and work together to make this city a safe and enjoyable place to live. If we are able to build positive relationships between the community and law enforcement now in times of peace, we will be better able to support and lean on each other in times of tragedy.”