IMPD officers begin walking beats in city

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- It’s an old idea of basic policing that fell out of favor several years ago when the Ballard administration couldn't find enough money to hire more police officers.

Now Ballard’s successor has announced the beginning of a beat patrol system that will get IMPD officers out of their cars and literally on their feet in some of the city’s most troubled neighborhoods.

“Today we have officers across the city who are restarting a new era of beat policing,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett, flanked by the police chief who found the money in the waning years of his predecessor’s term to put public safety spending back on track. “These officers will be walking down and walking up Washington. They will be walking down and walking up Rural. They will be walking down and walking up Sherman and Tenth and 38th Street.  Each beat officer will know the residents and business owners and visitors of his or her neighborhood.”

Chief Troy Riggs says as more officers graduate the IMPD Academy under Hogsett’s mandate to increase the size of the police department, additional beats would be added to the 19 neighborhood and entertainment district patrol areas rolled out today.

“They’re going to be given the social services nearby to help families when they are in need but they’re also going to be given a task to find those individuals that are responsible for perpetuating violence in this community and removing them so our citizens can live safe and live without fear in this community,” said Riggs.

45% of last year’s murders occurred within the boundaries encompassing the new beats, says Riggs, and 35% of all non-fatal shootings since 2012 were also in those areas.

“Just in this 1.5 square mile area, when we look in a six month period, there were ten homicides in 1.5 square miles,” said Riggs, standing near the intersection of East Washington Street and Rural Street in Beat Northeast 25. “There were 13 non-fatal shootings. There were over 2500 police report runs. There were over 15,000 emergency runs and those were only the ones that were reported.”

Walking along Rural and New York Streets, Hogsett says the return to beats was in answer to demands he heard from residents while campaigning a year ago.

“They wanted more police presence,” said Hogsett, “and frankly they also wanted beat-related community police.”

Ptl. Javed Richards will be one of those officers tasked with IMPD’s back-to-the-future beat patrols.

“A lot of guys I worked with who did the beat system were fantastic,” he said. “They loved the system, so I think to foster relationships with the community is what officers want.”