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'He's got a big job ahead of him': Community leaders react to Chris Bailey as IMPD's new Chief

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Posted at 11:48 PM, Feb 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-13 07:05:29-05

INDIANAPOLIS — It's the start of a new era for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Monday, Mayor Joe Hogsett swore in the new Chief, Christopher Bailey.

For 25 years, Bailey has served various roles through IMPD. He opened a new chapter through the ranks of serving Indianapolis.

"I am fully aware that assuming the role of Chief carries even greater responsibilities and expectations compared to my previous position as Assistant Chief," Bailey said.

"I won't say that I was surprised," Rev. Charles Harrison with Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition said.

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Harrison said Bailey is one of the few people he thought would be a great fit as Chief.

"Because of the work that he had did as a District Commander in the North District in 2015-2016," Harrison said.

That work dates back to a notable gang war Harrison says broke out in the Butler-Tarkington and Crown Hill areas that resulted in the murder of 10-year-old Deshaun Swanson.

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"I think for that part of the city, they got to see the work that he did with the community," Harrison said.

Since then, Harrison said the Butler-Tarkington and Crown Hill areas have seen a drastic drop in homicides.

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Bailey spent the last four years working with leaders to reform some of the department's most critical policies, including the use of force, body-worn cameras, and police pursuits, as well as forming review boards. Which was a first in the department’s history.

"He's got a big job ahead of him. Because we've had four consecutive years of over 200 homicides. 9 consecutive years of the highest levels of homicides and murders in the history of this city and the police can't do it by themselves," Harrison said.

"When I speak of safety and security in this community, it's personal," Bailey said.

Harrison said he wants the community to give Bailey a chance and starting dialogue right away with the community, will be a powerful move.

"As soon as I heard, I texted him and said to the chief 'Congratulations! Look forward to working with you. When can we meet'," Harrison said.

Bailey also named Catherine Cummings and Michael Wolley as his Assistant Chiefs. Mayor Hogsett has tasked Bailey with improving officer recruitment and retention, reviewing officer-involved shooting incidents, and finding ways to modernize the department.