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Indianapolis residents discuss what they expect from next police chief

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach.JPG
Posted at 11:27 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 23:27:07-05

INDIANAPOLIS — As Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Bryan Roach prepares to leave his post as the city's top cop, residents are reflecting on his tenure and thinking about what they expect from his successor.

"Chief Roach, he did the job and he did it well," Marshawn Wolley said. "He was visible and I think he was very open. He was criticized a lot, but he took it well and he was a reformer."

Wolley is the policy director for the African-American Coalition of Indianapolis. He applauds Roach, who announced his retirement the day after Thanksgiving, for his transparency, particularly his handling of the police-action shooting that killed 45-year-old Aaron Bailey.

"He really established the police department as a legitimate justice entity seeking justice. There was some trust there," Wolley said.

In an hour-long conversation looking back at his tenure, Roach told listeners of WTLC's Community Connection that transparency and constant communication with the community he serves was key following the Bailey shooting, an incident where Roach called for the two officers involved to be fired.

"Even though the decision wasn't one that was for a lot of the public, the correct one, the city didn't riot," Roach said. "I think I came out of that as, me and the police department as being viewed as trying, wanting to get better, understanding, listening. All those soft skills that are some important that can avoid some of the things that have occurred in other cities after incidents like that."

Roach was named police chief in 2017, and has served in the department for 28 years.

Radio One talk show host Ebony Chappel said listeners tell her they aren't looking for a lot of change.

"I've had some conversations with people, and one of the biggest things that has come up is wanting to stay in that vein of transparency," Chappel said. "Wanting a leader that's going to come on and keep it 100 with the community. Explain to them what's going on behind the scenes. Not be afraid to step out in front of really terrible situations and admit if there's fault to be admitted."

Roach will continue to serve in his position with IMPD through the end of the year. In the meantime, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is spending his time over the next couple weeks meeting with IMPD staff and community stakeholders to determine who will be Roach's successor.

That announcement is expected in the coming weeks.

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