INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Chief of Police Rick Hite and Director of Public Safety Troy Riggs spent Monday morning going over this weekend’s tragedy with the next round of officers. They were offering resources and help to make sure they’re ready for future challenges like these.
One of those recruits is changing his entire career path in hopes of making a difference.
Monday, as fallen Officer Perry Renn’s body was taken to Crown Hill from the Marion County Coroner’s Office, Carl Clark was training. He’s signing up to serve and protect. He has a college degree and has served as a youth pastor. Now, he’s ready to educate youth and protect communities.
“The first question that comes to mind is, if we don’t go who will? If we don’t keep that thin blue line between order and chaos, who’s going to step up and do it,” said Clark.
He’s one of sixty starting their sixth week of classes at the IMPD training facility. They have at least 20 weeks to go.
“I want to get into the community. I want to get my feet wet,” said Clark.
Chief Hite and Director Riggs say this is part of the equation. Get officers in the communities.
“You have to build chips in the bank of trust. You have to be there for people so they trust you and share information with you. And if necessary you’re willing to lay down your life for that purpose. And we saw young people who understood that,” said Chief Hite.
In the wake of Saturday’s shooting, Chief Hite and Riggs gave the future officers the option to reconsider their commitment on Monday.
“They came to remind us, look, you’re here to train. We got a job to do,” said Clark.
Not one blinked an eye.
“They’re resolute, they’re committed and I’m very proud of the job that HR and our police chief have done in finding our next generation of law enforcement,” said Troy Riggs, Department of Public Safety Director.
Signs of support hang in Officer Renn’s neighborhood. Friends and family grieve the loss. The men and women recruits Monday say they are determined to do their part to fill Officer Renn’s shoes to serve and protect. They want to get involved with the communities and in turn hope neighbors do their part to help.
“Come out of your homes. Get involved in your neighborhoods. Identify those persons you know for a fact are in need of services,” said Hite.
“And just be there for each other. Get each other’s backs. And ultimately more than that, it’s not just us. We need the public,” said Clark.
Chief Hite and the recruits say Indianapolis has one of the most extensive training programs in the country. And by using this weekend’s experience, it will reinforce their focus and determination throughout their training.
Chief Hite mentioned the problem of losing officers through attrition in recent years and is focused on recruiting the best and the brightest.