Violent weekend in Indy is proof policing strategy change was needed, councilman says

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 18, 2016) -- IMPD officials say with the weather warming up this past weekend, officers expected to make a lot of homicide runs. With the new policing strategy now underway, the department hopes in the long-term, they’ll see fewer bursts of violence like they did this past weekend.

City-County Council Vice President Zach Adamson says the violence has become so common, it’s unsurprising.

“We’re familiar with the flashing red lights and the yellow tape,” Adamson said. “It’s sad to think that we’re accustomed to that, but we are.”

Familiar also, are memorials like the one now sitting near Gateway and North High School Road. Balloons and candles now mark the place where 35-year-old David Sanders was shot and killed riding his motorcycle Friday afternoon.

That was just the start of a violent weekend, that spread throughout the city. By early Monday morning, six people were dead and several others hurt.

In Adamson’s district, one man was killed and several others hurt.

“I’m not sure that anyone really knows the solution to the crisis we’re in,” Adamson says. “And I believe it is a crisis.”

“Frankly, we have individuals in our community that just don’t value human life,” said Sergeant Catherine Cummings. “So how do we reach those people? What is happening in our community that is leading to that?”

Mayor Joe Hogsett and IMPD’s Chief Riggs have high hopes community policing can help answer those questions.

Officers are now going to work beats and partner with agencies to solve social and economic issues in high-crime areas.

“When you’re looking at bigger issues than the crimes themselves, you’re looking at poverty, you’re looking at educational issues, joblessness, hopelessness,” said Cummings.

Since IMPD just put the new policing system in motion a month ago, she says it will take time before the city sees drastic improvement in these areas.

“That is going to take a long term effort, by everyone involved,” said Cummings. “In the short term, we keep doing what we’re doing. We show up every day. We’re out here.”

And Adamson believes those smaller problems police are able to solve every day—noise ordinance violations, jaywalking and loitering—will help just as much as the new police beat strategy.