INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Randal Taylor is stepping down at the end of the year after serving four years in the role.
IMPD has not yet announced who will be replacing Taylor.
Taylor was appointed chief at the start of a global pandemic and served amid widespread protests against police violence, record homicides in Indianapolis and growing calls for his resignation.
"I’ll be honest, it does take a toll. I had to seriously ask myself if I thought I could do this role as chief for two more years, and I really didn’t think I could,” Taylor said in a video released on Friday.
Taylor says although he is stepping down, he will still be working with the department.
“I’m going to be around for at least another year-and-a-half, just working in a different capacity. Hopefully something that has to do with helping out victim families,” Taylor said.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett appointed Taylor as chief on Dec. 31, 2019.
"I've always loved being a police officer and am confident that my love for this department and this profession will continue as I serve in this capacity," Taylor said at the time.
Hogsett released the following statement regarding Taylor's announcement:
Chief Randal Taylor is a trailblazer, and his nearly thirty years of service to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is a testament to his character, commitment to public service, and drive to make Indianapolis a safer city. In his time as Chief, IMPD has seen the largest reduction in homicides in department history and has placed community relations and transparency at the forefront. I thank Randy for his service to the people of this great city, and I wish him the best in this next chapter.
Criticism of Taylor has grown louder in recent months as IMPD officers have been shooting more suspects during dangerous and violent encounters.
IMPD officers have shot 19 suspects, 10 of whom died, so far in 2023.
IMPD officers shot 10 people last year; 13 in 2021 and six in 2019, according to the department.
Taylor defended his officers in an Oct. interview, saying the suspects in these cases were armed, refused to comply and put the officers in dangerous situations.
"A lot of bad decisions by people with weapons," Taylor said, the day after an officer shot and killed 37-year-old Frederick Davis, a man relatives say was homeless and mentally ill.
"As chief, I hate to see people put our officers in positions to make difficult decisions," Taylor said. "It’s still a pending investigation so I'm not saying there isn't accountability on our side."
But critics say Taylor hasn't held officers accountable in the wake of these shootings.
The Baptist Ministers Alliance and Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis, his most vocal critics, have been loudly calling for Taylor's resignation.
"Chief Taylor has created a culture that lacks accountability for the officers," the groups said in an Oct. 24 press release. "Chief Taylor’s woeful performance with homicides, non-fatal shootings, solvability rate and now police-action shootings merit immediate changes within IMPD leadership."
Taylor has served in law enforcement for more than three decades, starting with the Champaign, Ill., Police Department in 1987. He served in various IMPD leadership roles before being named assistant chief in 2017; and chief on Dec. 31, 2019.
“I have been in this job for 36 years, 30 here in Indianapolis and four as your Chief. It has truly been an honor to serve you as a community,” Taylor said.
He was appointed toward the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the city shut down and Hoosiers were ordered to stay at home to avoid spreading the virus.
He was chief in summer 2020 when protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and Dreasjon Reed locally erupted into two nights of looting, tear gas and violence in downtown Indianapolis.
At the time, Mayor Hogsett expressed "serious concerns" about the department's use of force during the protests. Taylor apologized to a church group hit by tear gas as they prayed and sang on Monument Circle.
Taylor presided over a department that investigated a record 245 homicides in 2021. His department saw yet another record the very next year, with 272 homicides in 2022.
"We know that each one of those lives represents a soul," Taylor said in Dec. 2022. "It represents someone's brother, sister, son, daughter, whatever — Someone that's important to somebody — and those numbers have got to come down."
During his time as chief, body-worn cameras became a standard among officers and the department began sharing critical incident videos with the public on social media.
Also, during Taylor’s tenure, implicit bias training, de-escalation training, mental health first aide and the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program were introduced. Each district hosted town halls and engaged in direct question and answer sessions.
“There’s no doubt in my mind the last few years have been some of the most challenging in law enforcement,” Taylor said. “But together, we were able to embark on a journey of transformation, transparency, accountability and working to make the city a safer place for people to live, work, and visit.”
Contact WRTV reporter Vic Ryckaert at email@example.com or on Twitter: @vicryc.