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Local leaders hope to keep peace in Indy following Ferguson grand jury decision

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Nov. 24, 2014) - The game plan for IMPD officers and community activists Monday was to keep the peace. Community leaders were out Monday night to make sure Indy kept calm.

"We can mobilize a larger army if we need to, but I think Indianapolis is really prepared to handle any kind of protest that may occur,” said Rev. Charles Harrison.

Harrison is the president of Indy's Peace Keeping Ten Point Coalition.  He had faith Monday that his city would not fall into a Ferguson-like firestorm.

"Because we have a strong community-police relationship in this city that goes back decades,” he said.

Harrison said the backbone of a peaceful protest is community trust in its police force.  He said in Indianapolis, that is a bond that was years in the making and unfortunately, not a bond not seen on the streets of Ferguson.

"We hope to mobilize a lot of pastors and our volunteers if there are protests. If it's one protest or multiple protests, we will be prepared to be at that event to make sure it's peaceful,” he said.

Since 1999, The Indy Ten Point Coalition, a group of volunteers headed by local pastors, has worked with IMPD to keep the peace at protests, homicide scenes, and other demonstrations.  In August, the coalition was invited to Ferguson to help leaders there keep the calm.

"Emotions are going to be high and I believe those are going to be high whether there's an indictment or there's not an indictment,” said Reverend Horatio Luster.

Luster has worked with Ten Point for years.  He said he walks Indianapolis streets and knows his neighborhood well.  He had a message Monday for those not satisfied with the grand jury's decision, "It's OK to protest. You have a right to do that. But violence, burning, burning period, looting, especially in your own communities, it serves no purpose,” he said.

As of Monday night, IMPD officials did not anticipate any serious incidents from protesters.