IMPD chief describes ‘tough September’ at east side roll call

INDIANAPOLIS - Officers and top command staff of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department held a special afternoon roll call in the Amber Woods Apartments Tuesday.

The area, near the intersection of East 38th Street and Mitthoefer Road, has been plagued by violent crime for years. The roll call was part of IMPD’s push for more community policing in neighborhoods affected by violence.

“Much like we did last week,” said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs. “We had a double homicide, we were in that community talking to to individuals.  And as a result, people called us and gave us information that led to the arrest of four individuals. Three of them had weapons.”

The roll call happened on the third anniversary of the shooting death of IMPD Officer Rod Bradway. Tuesday’s roll call started with a special observance of the anniversary, then continued with conversations between police and residents in the apartments.

Chief Riggs said the city was in the midst of a “tough September,” pointing out that Indianapolis is currently ten homicides ahead of last year’s rate.

“Residents are concerned about the lack of social order, so to speak,” Riggs said. “That people get angry quickly. That they’re willing to use a weapon where it used to be just a fist fight. That people can’t talk though their issues.”

“When we have people dying in our city over cell phones. When we have people dying in our city or being assaulted over a bottle of beer. Those are issues that we have to address in society. And that’s a concern not only to residents, but it’s a concern to me as a police chief,” Riggs said.

City-County Council member La Keisha Jackson, who’s 14th district includes the Amber Woods Apartments, said conversations between police and her constituents are vitally important to easing tensions throughout the city. She said relationships between Indianapolis residents and police can often be made more tense by news coverage and social media depicting police-action shootings in other cities.

“Have a relationship where they feel safe,” Jackson said. “They can feel secure and still depend on law enforcement. And we know it’s not all law enforcement, but some of them have given that blue a bad name.”

Locally, Jackson believes easy access to guns is helping to drive violent crime to new heights.

“Guns are so accessible to anyone on the street,” Jackson said. “You can go to almost any street corner right now and buy a gun.”

Chief Riggs pointed out that IMPD currently has fewer officers on the streets than the department had at the start of the year. But he was optimistic about Mayor Hogsett’s budget plan that would include hiring additional officers.

Riggs also pointed to the recent success of IMPD’s recently reorganized Narcotics Unit, which he says has already taken $400,000 worth of drug money of Indianapolis streets.