Community walks helping IMPD build better relationships

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s one thing to serve the community, it’s another to show you’re a part of it.

Wednesday night, officers with IMPD’s East District did both.

“We don’t want to forget any of these blocks, any of these streets,” said East District Commander Mike Bruin as he stood in front of a crowd near Washington Street and Sherman Avenue. The intersection is one of IMPD’s high crime focus areas. It’s also the spot where the district started its first community walk of the summer.

“Breaking down those walls, getting the officers out of the cars,” said Sgt. Brandon Mills. “We want to help them have a good quality of life in their neighborhood on their streets.”

Standing side by side with the people they’re sworn to protect, East District officers walked their beat with the intention of showing exactly what community policing means.

“Anytime we can have positive interaction where it’s not anything urgent or emergency it’s great,” said Sgt. Mills.

That positive interaction happened as the group turned onto Kealing Avenue. An officer stopped to simply talk with Erica Hart and her daughter Laila as they sat on their front porch.

It was a pleasant surprise that caught the young mother off guard. A day earlier, police were on her block checking on parolees.

“I actually saw (Hart) on the sidewalk yesterday morning and you could tell she was kind of skeptical of what was going on,” said Sgt. Mills.

“When they had that police sweep I was a little nervous,” said Hart. “Then like the past couple days I’ve been seeing them and it’s kind of, it’s comforting knowing there’s some type of security.”

Moments like that illustrate why IMPD’s East District plans to do community walks every week this summer.

Neighbor Chris Staab was the first person to show up for the event. He said he plans to be there every time.

“If we can build a friendship, we build a trust, we build a relationship, then that encourages more relationships within the community and that’ll keep our streets safer,” he said.

The community walks start at 6:00 p.m. every Wednesday at the end of the Sav-a-Lot parking lot near Washington Street and Sherman Avenue.

Sgt. Mills said next week they’ll try a new route. The walks run through the end of July.


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