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IPS hires IMPD commander as district's director of safety and security

Ida Williams has more than 35 years of experience with IMPD.
Ida Williams.jpg
Arsenal Tech email 4
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Arsenal Tech e-mail 2
Posted at 7:10 PM, May 15, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-15 19:29:17-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Public Schools is bringing in an experienced law enforcement officer to try and make the school district a safer place.

IPS announced Tuesday it hired Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Commander Ida Williams as its director of safety and security. Williams begins her new role on June 24.

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IMPD Commander Ida Williams was named Indianapolis Public Schools' director of safety and security.

Williams has more than 35 years of experience with IMPD, including mentoring thousands of kids and teens in Indianapolis through the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T) program.

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IPS did not make Williams available for interviews on Wednesday.

The position became a priority after a fight between young kids was captured on camera at School 87, which led to IPS firing the school's principal.

However, Arsenal Tech High School parent Erica Hahn said her school is also experiencing safety issues.

"He has been repeatedly bullied," said Hahn about her son, a sophomore at Arsenal Tech with special needs. "It's trying to assure your child that they will be safe at school while in the back of your mind thinking, 'I don't know that you are.'"

Arsenal parents were alerted to several dangerous incidents this year through e-mails from principal JR Shelt.

A March 20 e-mail describes an incident where a student was arrested after a gun and drugs were found in their car.

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An e-mail sent by Arsenal Tech principal JR Shelt to families on March 20.

Shelt sent another e-mail April 5 in which he told families a student overdosed at school and needed Narcan to be revived.

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An e-mail sent by Arsenal Tech principal JR Shelt to families on April 5.

An e-mail sent May 9 details a fight between two students in which pepper spray was used to break it up. It said one student was arrested in this incident.

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An e-mail sent by Arsenal Tech principal JR Shelt to families on May 9.

Shelt sent the most recent e-mail on May 14. He notified families of a fight that ended with an arrest and a staff member in the hospital.

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An e-mail sent by Arsenal Tech principal JR Shelt to families on May 14.

Hahn said her son has personally seen violence at Arsenal Tech, including capturing one fight with his cellphone camera.

"He is scared, he does not know what to do, he knows he has not been believed in the past, so he video records it," Hahn said.

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Han is cautiously optimistic Williams can make a difference at Arsenal and throughout IPS.

"I think that IPS has to meet with parents at every school. They have to listen, be open, and come with solutions," Hahn said. "They have to be held accountable and say, 'We've messed up in the past.' It also involves adults being self-aware and saying, 'Here's what I've done wrong in the past, here's why I've done it, and how do I make that change?'"