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Witness assistance program helping witnesses of crime stay safe

Posted at 6:51 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 18:51:02-04

INDIANAPOLIS — According to IMPD, there are 33 unsolved homicides so far this year.

A witness coming forward could be the answer to solving those crimes, but sometimes witnesses are scared to do so.

That’s where the Victim Witness Assistance Program comes in.

"It truly is up to the individual in terms of what happens needs to happen,” said Carlette Duffy the Deputy Director of Program Management at the Office of Public Health and Science. “Sometimes that's immediate removal from the situation."

Before the Victim Witness Assistance Program (VWAP) can help a person, who has sensitive information, they first must talk to the detective on the case. If the detective determines the witness’s life is in danger, VWAP acts.

“When we get put into gear our focus is just on safety," Duffy said.

Falisha Walker knows how it feels to want answers about a case. Her son William Walker was murdered in 2019 at a strip club that is now shut down. If not for security footage from the club and a witness that came forward, she's not sure her son’s killer would be behind bars.

"My pain still hurts,” Walker said. “I still struggle daily, and my son’s killer is arrested and doing time, but I feel no different. But the fact that I know he can't hurt your family, or someone else’s family brings me a little bit of joy. "

That’s why she and the VWAP encourage people to come forward.

"When it's something that you've seen or you've heard that it is just pressing on you, it’s our civic duty to get involved," Duffy said.

According to VWAP, if you work with them, make sure you don't talk about it with others. Your safety depends on it.

If you are a witness of a crime but are concerned the information you know could threaten your life, call the witness assistance program at 317-327-3331.