INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is unveiling its role in a mobile app designed to better relationships between police and the communities they serve.
Community is available, and free to download on IOS and Android devices. It’s through a partnership with Movement Forward Inc. and a grant with the Department of Justice. Along with IMPD, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office and a host of others are part of the effort.
The app works as a directory to connect people to local agencies, organizations, churches, hospitals and other entities in their area.
“It’s location based,” said Lt. Allen Tuttle with IMPD. “So when you log on, it’ll tell you where you’re at right now, where the closest police substation is, who’s in charge of that police station, how to get reports and local things within the police department.”
“On top of that, you have the list of resources, and it’s a map function,” he added, “So you can drill down from where you’re at and see on the map view where these resources are.”
Users can also get to know the officers patrolling their communities. The app includes small bios on officers you’ll likely see in the neighborhood. There’s also a section to report or view crime in your area, as well as request extra patrols where you are.
As crime increases and several cases remain unsolved, Tuttle says part of the issue is people feeling uncomfortable with talking to police.
“We as a police department inform, beg the people we serve to let us know what’s going on in their neighborhood and to give us information,” he said. “Sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Sometimes, it’s not as easy as you would think it’d be.”
Through the social aspect of the app, Tuttle hopes it encourages better relationships and allows people to feel better about approaching police no matter the situation.
“I would love for them to be able to say ‘Hey, I saw you on the Community app and I saw you like City Barbeque, I like City Barbeque too’, and develop a conversation,” said Tuttle. “It doesn’t have to be about what you’re doing, or why you’re there, but understanding that we’re all humans and that we all put our pants on the same way every day.”
Though the app is available to download and accessible no matter where you are, four neighborhoods are serving as test pilots. They include Hawthorne, Haughville, Stringtown and We Care. Together, they form the Near West Collaborative.
Tuttle says the areas were chosen for their diversity and encouraging growth and revitalization.
The app is fully functional for those select neighborhoods, and the IMPD Southwest District, as they are the pilots. However, people outside of those areas can still use the app to view their nearest resources and police agencies.
Tuttle says there are some tweaks they’ll be making along the way, but the goal is to have the app, fully functioning, for the entire city soon.