INDIANAPOLIS––A new Community Engagement and Outreach Bureau, designed to improve public safety, has been created by IMPD.
Thursday night, the bureau’s commander is holding a virtual meet and greet to explain how the program will work.
The bureau will be based out of two locations, one near 42nd and College, the other at the JTV center on 17th Street.
The goal is simply to build trust between IMPD and the community.
From sledding the slopes with kids, to shooting hoops with a stranger and giving food to the homeless, IMPD officers often interact with the public in friendly ways that don’t always make headlines.
“Engaging the community is essential today to law enforcement,” said IMPD commander Ida Williams.
Commander Williams is now in charge of a new Community Engagement and Outreach Bureau, which aims to expand on those simple acts of kindness and build stronger bridges of trust with residents.
The Bureau will include the Community Engagement Office, run programs like the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) camp, and coordinate the Indy Police Athletics & Activities League in partnership with the Indy Public Safety Foundation.
“Our goal as a bureau is to be more visible,” said Williams.
Commander Williams believes that establishing a recreational connection can benefit public safety by allowing citizens to interact with police when they’re not at the scene of a crime.
“I hope they see us as people and they want to reach out to us and get their young people signed up with our young programming,” said Williams.
“The more we can create relationships between law enforcement and the community, we’re going to be far better off,” said reverend David Greene with the Concerned Clergy.
Reverend Greene hopes the athletic club, with a mentoring program included, will reduce violent crime by assisting at risk youth.
“This is critical and crucial because the kids didn’t just sit home and twiddle their thumbs, they were in the streets and that’s created problems,” said Greene.
“I hope they see that IMPD is serious in building those relationships and that we are committed to provide public safety to our neighbors,” said Williams.
In all 37 officers will work with the bureau, including the city’s first ever LGBTQIA+ liaison.