Smaller beat patrols begin across Indy for IMPD officers

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer George June gunned the engine on his patrol car northbound on Holt Road from Kentucky Avenue, leaving behind his assigned beat in the Mars Hill area to assist an officer in a pursuit through the side streets of Haughville.

“We just had an interdiction unit have somebody…it sounds like it was a short vehicle pursuit and then a foot pursuit,” said June over the roar of the engine and scream of his siren as the patrol car slowed around stopped traffic at various stop lights. “Generally with interdiction it's in my experience it’s a little higher priority. It's generally guns and drugs or something like that.”

As of today, June’s official assignment is Beat 22 on IMPD’s Southwest District as Chief Bryan Roach has found enough officers, money and cars to carve up 33 larger patrol zones into 78 smaller beats across the city.

“Hopefully it’ll feel like they have time to go into the barbershop, or go into the school, and introduce themselves and talk to people sitting on porches rather than feeling like they have to take a position so that they’re prepared to take that next responsive type run,” said Roach.

June’s new assignment leaves him responsible for a swath of the city from Kentucky Avenue to I-465 to Holt Road nearly to Washington Street.

“We recover a lot of stolen cars on 22, a lot of them end up in the alleys down on Mars Hill, a lot of them are the same people stealing them everyday.”

June said he finds most of the car thieves are drug users, stealing a ride to get back home.

“There’s an advantage of being in the same neighborhood working six days a week in a specific neighborhood instead of getting bounced around to different parts of the district when you’re short staffed,” he said. “You get to know the people that are doing certain things. You get to know their habits and you get to know where they stay. So if certain types of crimes occur, you kinda have an idea who you’re looking at to go find.”

June was prowling the alley behind the house of a noted car thief where four stolen vehicles have been discovered in the last week when the drug suspect pursuit jumped off several miles north.

Minutes later, the vehicle and foot chase ended with a suspect in handcuffs at the corner of North Sheffield Avenue and West St. Clair Street.

On the trunk hood of the police car in front of him was an envelope with a bundle of cash taken out of the man’s pocket as a uniformed sergeant asked how the chase by the policewoman started.

“Somebody dropped a scale in my car and she seen it in the passenger seat. Somebody got out,” was the answer.

“You just decided to drive your vehicle crazy and just bail out on us?” the sergeant asked.

“Yeah,” said the man who was on his way to jail.

“Okay,” said the sergeant. “I can see that.”

Up the block, in an empty lot, several officers and a drug sniffing dog searched the suspect’s abandoned pick up truck and the path to the site of his arrest.

A gun and a substantial amount of marijuana were found.

Last year IMPD launched 20 beats downtown, in Fountain Square and on portions of the northside.

During the next eight months, the new beats will be tweaked in respect to natural boundaries such as rivers and railroad tracks, and will be modified again in 2019 when IMPD’s new computer aided dispatch system comes on line.

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