Indianapolis ‘under assault,’ says city’s police chief

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INDIANAPOLIS (July 7, 2014) – Indianapolis’ police chief says the Circle City is “under assault” after the death of Indianapolis Metropolitan police officer Perry Renn.

Hite spoke to FOX59 Morning News Monday about the officer’s death. The chief planned to meet Monday with the 9th IMPD Recruit Class to discuss Renn’s loss. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs will join him.

“The fact is this is the unlikeliest guy to be involved in a shooting situation because of his personality. He cared about people, he was known to be jovial, he loved to be involved in practical jokes, he’s the guy that knew the community and the community knew him,” Hite said.

“The challenge is for us how to replace a guy like that. Is there someone out there willing to step up and be an Officer Renn?” Hite asked.

The chief also had strong words about violence in Indianapolis, saying the city is under attack.

“Let’s be clear here the city is under assault. It’s not just the police department,” he told FOX59. “And for that case, when I arrived here I looked at the numbers in terms of the violent offenders and they had something in common. They all had criminal pasts, they all had some type of mental health issues or they were just brazen. What we’re finding is when we look at the guns that’s being carried by these individuals, they’re felons. The question becomes how as a society, as a community, will we allow the individual to continue to carry that weapon…be sentenced and not serve the time then be allowed back into the community. Communities should be outraged when they return.”

Hite said there has been an ongoing debate about the number of police in the city and how many officers are on the streets.

“We have a choice, and I’ll be very honest. We either provide mental health services, substance abuse treatment, or we have to flood the streets with police. Our officers have taken on more than any police department I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Hite stressed that the majority of violent crime in Indianapolis goes back to people with criminal histories.

“I’ve said this time and time again, we’re not embellishing these stories when we tell you that 80% of the people involved as victims and 90% of the suspects have something in common criminal history, it’s true,” he said. “If we look at the situation starting in May when we had the double homicide on the city’s east side where it was a domestic violence situation where a man kills a 30-year-old ex-girlfriend an 84-year-old grandmother, where’s the sense of outrage?”

Hite was referring to a May incident in which three people were killed and an IMPD officer wounded. In that case, a man fatally shot two women before being fatally shot by the officer. He also discussed the murder that left four people dead and a SWAT situation in which four officers were shot while serving a warrant in March.

“We move on we talk about the situation when we have, go back further than that the quad shooting where we had the officers faced with a threat in the community twice in a two-week period. First we had four murders. We had four murders of individual who were substance abuse users and had a history. Weeks later, days later, we have a situation where our SWAT team were taken on by similar suspects so the question becomes as a society and a community where we draw the line of support for not only law enforcement but civility and values in our community.”

Despite the problems, Hite said the Fourth of July showed the Indianapolis community at its best.

“We have a great community and I think we saw it on the 4th of July—50,000 people were downtown, had a wonderful time. There were police officers all over the place to make sure the place was safe,” he said. “We took those same officers and used many of them in the Broad Ripple area. We had more police per capita in the eight-block radius of Broad Ripple than we have in the north district size for 100,000 people. So in other words, in an eight-block area we had more police than we do in an area where we police over 100,000.”

And it’s the community, the chief said, that his department relies on to combat crime in Indianapolis.

“Where do we draw the line? And we’re serious about the fact, we’re gonna find them and this community is gonna help us. (Call Crime Stoppers at) 262-tips, you need to help us.”