IMPD recruits “earning the badge” through diversity training

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INDIANAPOLIS – One week into the 9th IMPD Training Academy one woman has already decided being a police officer wasn’t for her and dropped out. 59 recruits remain and Metro Police Chief Rick Hite expects a few more will quit because it’s not easy to be a cop. Five more months of training remains.

The recruit class marks the first time in three years that IMPD has trained a new generation of officers. “Reader/Writer. Thinker/Fighter.” is the credo painted on the pillars of the main academy classroom.

“We’ve been told from Day One that if you’re a reader, you’re a writer, you’re a thinker, you rarely have to be a fighter,” said Recruit Officer Melia White. “Being observant, that’s a big part of this job, so, sitting in class, paying attention, that prepares us for being able to do that, knowing yourself and being able to anticipate the moves of others.”

White was chosen to explain the teachings of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” to the class by Training Officer Melony Moore.

“If you know yourself and you know others, then you are able to win just about every battle,” said Moore. “If you don’t know yourself and you don’t know others, then you’re going to fail.”

Moore taught the recruits their first in a series of cultural awareness classes.

“The community needs to be able to trust us,” she said, “and we need to understand where they’re coming from and understand the differences within the community.”

When Moore came through the Academy in 2000, she was one of only three women, the only black female and one of only seven African-American recruits.

On this day Moore stood in front of a class that included 15 African-Americans, seven Hispanics and 11 women.

During the 2010 census, Marion County recorded a 26.6% African-American population, 9.4 Hispanic and 64.5% Caucasian.

Of IMPD’s 1500 officers, less than 20% are African-American.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs has said the department needs to more adequately reflect the city it patrols.

“I can guarantee that we’re getting the best training available,” said White, “and we’re ready, this whole class of recruits, is ready to make a difference and ready to get to our training done and be the best officers we can be to protect our city.”