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COVID-19 impacting IMPD response to non-emergency calls

Some callers urged to report issues online
Posted at 11:16 PM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 23:26:16-05

INDIANAPOLIS — "This window here occurred on Friday, where someone threw a brick and hit the window," said Jomo Cole.

Not once but twice in a week a window at Jackson Burrus' east side home shatters at the hands of vandals. His nephew Jomo Cole showed WRTV the damage.

"This past Monday another brick come flying through the window between 6:30 and 7pm and this room here is my auntie's computer desk room," said Cole.

Cole says following both incidents his aunt and uncle called for police but both times they were told an officer would not physically be showing up because broken windows are considered vandalism and a non-emergency.

"It's more than vandalism and my thing is, I'm really disgusted because the people who are supposed to protect and serve us when you call them and ask them to come out, the first thing they said was oh it's vandalism and due to Corona, we're not going to come out," said Cole.

Despite being a three-minute drive from IMPD's North District Headquarters IMPD tells WRTV the department is following guidelines set by the CDC, Indiana State Department of Health, and the Marion County Public Health Department to preserve and protect first responders and residents from the risks of COVID-19. In some cases, instead of sending an officer, dispatchers are directing citizens to call the non-emergency number or file a report online.

After hearing from WRTV about the back-to-back window breaking incidents IMPD says they'd be happy to set up a patrol. But the man who lives here says something needs to be done before someone gets hurt.

"My wife could've been sitting there and got knocked in the head, hurt or killed. Just step up the patrol. I know they have a lot of area to cover but just come through there to at least show that you're trying to protect us. Right now, I don't feel protected nowhere," said Jackson Burrus.

IMPD says when possible, dispatchers are screening residents for potential COVID-19 symptoms over the phone as they take 911 calls.

As the pandemic continues, you are urged to use the non-emergency services numbers for non-emergency calls. That number is 317-327-3811. You can also go online to the city's website Indy.Gov.