INDIANAPOLIS — On a day when the numbers of homicides reached 221, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor noted while the number is still large, it is an improvement.
“We’re about 15% down, which is trending in the right direction,” said Taylor.
The chief is correct, but the decrease is from last year’s record of 271 homicides. This year is also the third year in a row that the homicide total has eclipsed 200.
So, Fox59/CBS4 asked Taylor if this is the new normal.
“I don’t want to say we should expect it,” Taylor responded. “I mean, it’s a bit of a reality right now, but I think Indianapolis should expect better. The question becomes, how do you get to that better?”
In an afternoon interview, the chief gave an overview of the challenges of homicide cases which include a lack of witness cooperation.
“I’ve been out at crime scenes, and you know good and well people know exactly what happened, and then they’ll tell you right to your face, ‘You’re the cop. Solve it,’” said Taylor.
The chief is hopeful that the tens of millions of dollars Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration has given to community anti-violence groups will help foster greater cooperation from the public as well as tamp down on violent episodes.
When asked to grade his department’s performance on homicide cases, Chief Taylor replied, “Probably be at a ‘B’ from the standpoint of that effort of all the parties that are involved.”
Maybe the most interesting exchange was on Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears, who recently won re-election despite a consistent barrage of criticism from the city police union.
“I’ll admit we’re not always on the same page,” Taylor explained. “Sometimes I understand where it’s coming from, and sometimes I don’t, but the people that city voted for him, so they must feel pretty good about it, and I’m willing to work with that.”