INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A city leader got a front row seat on public safety by going out on patrol with IMPD.
City County Councillor Colleen Fanning, who represents district two on the north side, went on her second police ride along since getting elected last fall.
She said she got the idea from Councillor Marilyn Pfisterer. They feel it’s a good way to get perspective on public safety.
“I can’t even imagine how exciting being a police officer would be because everyday’s so different,” said Fanning. She didn’t have to imagine it Friday; she got to experience it with the help of IMPD Officer James Cather as they patrolled through Indy’s north side.
“I’m just really trying to get to the root cause of crime and see things from our brave men and women in uniform’s perspective,” she said.
Part of that includes simply picking Cather’s brain about the issues he encounters daily, including hard drug users.
“Where have you seen the most heroin action in the Broad Ripple area?” Fanning asked after Cather mentioned heroin usage was on the rise.
“A little bit north of Broad Ripple kind of behind Broad Ripple Park,” he answered while adding that it was a problem throughout the north district.
Minutes later we had our first call — a domestic disturbance involving mental health issues, which didn’t surprise Fanning.
“I think 13 out of 14 calls in my first ride along, all but one were directly related to mental illness and or addiction issues,” she said.
“This just kind of underscores the need for a holistic approach to public safety, and the ability to connect victims and every citizen to the services they need. So we need need to empower officers and EMT’s to be able do that,” she said.
With that knowledge, Fanning hopes she can influence positive change for the city. And if others want to join her, she suggests they start by hopping in the front seat of a squad car.
“I would always recommend doing a ride along. You get to learn a lot more about our officers, our city, and the challenges they face and how we can help,” Fanning said.
IMPD requires that people be at least 18 years old to register for a ride along.