INDIANAPOLIS — This year cannot end soon enough for cities dealing with a record homicide rate.
As we near the close of 2021, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor spoke with WRTV to reflect on what has been a tough year and look ahead to 2022.
“It’s discouraging because so many families have been impacted by this and so much is senseless,” Taylor said.
Taylor recently wrote a letter in the Indianapolis Star detailing the efforts to deal with crime and the painstaking ripple effect involving the loss of life.
“I think when FedEx occurred, that got me the most because I was dealing with all these families right here,” he said.
An issue of concern for law enforcement are people considered violent offenders who are bonding out of jail before their cases are done. The chief said he and his counterparts are on the same page looking to get the problem fixed.
“Just people committing violence, but once you get locked up, honestly, I think you need to stay there until it’s adjudicated in court because we’ve had a couple of cases in which people charged with violent felonies commit more violent crimes,” Taylor said. “There has to be a way to stop that. I’m discouraged we have that going on in Indianapolis because I think it’s totally unnecessary.”
New technology will kick in for IMPD in 2022 with the Shot Spotter program getting a trial run in Indianapolis. IMPD is working on where the gunshot detection sensors and cameras will go. The department budgeted $1 million to pay for three years of the pilot program.
“It uses cameras and audio to pinpoint where shots are fired in an effort to get our officers in those areas much quicker and come up with potential suspects and find victims quicker,” Taylor said.
In response to the spike in gun-related crimes, violence-reduction teams were created in every district, which will remain constant.
“We hope to bolster those and get a better picture what that looks like for a full year since we started that mid-year last year,” Taylor said.
IMPD also expects to get an infusion of money to hire 100 new officers. Taylor said IMPD is staffed for 1,743 officers and the department currently has 1,600.
“We would be at 1,843, so we have some work to do,” he said. “We’ve started recruiting. Now, we are going national.”
The department is not immune from retirements or resignations. The agency is well aware of the stresses of the job and is thinking about creating a mental health screening for its officers.
“I think that’s owed to them,” Taylor said. “The wise thing for us to do as a department is to make sure we take care of the physical and mental needs and try to get tools to do their jobs safely and do it well.”