INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett swore in a class of IMPD recruits Monday, hours after the city recorded its 150th murder of the year.
City leaders plan to bulk up the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department staff in hopes of slowing the city’s record murder rate.
The east side murder gave 2017 an unfortunate distinction: tied with 2016 for the deadliest year in the city’s history.
“Beyond these walls, beyond this training academy, is a city that needs you. Now, perhaps, more than ever before,” Hogsett said.
The mayor’s team expects IMPD staff to increase by about 30 people, factoring in attrition, by the end of 2018. Hogsett said the added staff will allow officers to focus on beats — small areas of the city.
Officers currently cover 19 beats, with plans to cover 70 in the months ahead. Police say murders are down 29 percent in the 19 areas where IMPD already uses beat policing.
“We always say it’s darkest just before dawn,” IMPD Officer James Gillespie said. “We’re going to be focusing more on what our community needs. When they get out there on the streets and find out, okay, what is the root cause of this problem?”
Columbus, Ohio, which boasts about 4,700 fewer people than Indy–saw 130 murders so far this year.
Baltimore, with a smaller population than Columbus, has recorded more than 300 murders in 2017.
“The demographics, geographics (in Indianapolis) is going to be different from what they’re experiencing,” IMPD Officer Jim Gillespie said.
IMPD said they’re focusing on a solution that’s specific to Indianapolis.
“One murder is too many,” Gillespie said.
New York City, by comparison, is on pace for a record low, with fewer than 300 murders this year.
Gillespie points out New York City is drastically different from Indianapolis, with a much larger population and more than 30,000 police officers.
Police say they are, however, looking around at cities across the country to see what works and what doesn’t.