IMPD walks side-by-side with residents of troubled Indy neighborhood

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (MAY 18, 2016)--IMPD hit the streets Wednesday night, but it wasn't to make arrests.  The idea behind the community walk was to build relationships.

Officers and a few dozen east side residents gathered at the intersection of Washington Street and Sherman Drive.

IMPD had officers from its new 'Flex Unit' leading the walk. These officers were in the neighborhood earlier in the week cracking down on code, health and other legal violations.  As a result, there were several results.  The next day, those same officers were back offering resources to the same people they targeted the day before.  Wednesday, the Flex Unit was back just to shake hands and say hello.

"This is a way of gaining trust with the neighborhoods to help build relationships," said attendee Chris Staab.

Betty Phillips knows first hand the on-going issues this community faces.

It brought me back to a history I had with this area," said Phillips.

She was once part of the problem and once used the busy intersection to solicit drugs and sex.

"I'm not ashamed to say it, I got a solicitation charge out of it," said Phillips.

Phillips is no longer jumping in random cars looking for her next high.  She now walks with the officers she once feared.

"It justifies growth for the city and for me," said Phillips.
However, the east side of Indianapolis still has growing to do.  It's one of the cities target areas for high crime.

"We really are wanting to take back our own streets. This is our neighborhood and we want it back," said walk attendee Heather Fields.

Leaders with IMPD say they plan on holding similar walks every Wednesday night in a different part of the city.