Bloomington police boost downtown patrols after complaints

File photo of a Bloomington police car.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  — Officials are increasing police patrols in downtown Bloomington following complaints about criminal activity, aggressive panhandling and drug abuse by the city’s homeless population.

Twenty officers started their afternoon shifts with a roll call last week at Peoples Park about a block from the Indiana University campus. A police lieutenant told the officers to have “zero tolerance” for alcohol, drugs and fighting in the park.

Police Chief Mike Diekhoff tells The Herald-Times that the department has a responsibility to keep the area safe for everyone.

A city task force recommended additional police patrols and is preparing a report for Mayor John Hamilton.

Some city parking enforcement officers also are looking for suspicious behavior, and the city has hired four IU police officers to boost downtown patrols.