|(Star photo: Brent Drinkut)|
In a news release sent shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, Hite said he had earlier that night met with IMPD officials to “formalize a response” to the violence.
“Although you may not see it, rest assured the appropriate resources and assets within the police department have been deployed to address the violence,” Hite said in the release. “Again, operations are already underway to identify the people, places, and activities contributing to our problem.”
Reached by The Indianapolis Star on Sunday to elaborate, Hite said he was disturbed by the criminal outbreak — including an 80-person bar brawl that left three officers injured early Saturday — and wanted to reiterate to the public the steps that police have taken to curb such crimes.
“I believe in trying to get the pulse of the community, and there were certain things that rubbed me the wrong way,” Hite said. “I get a sense of when it’s time to make a comment.
“We want to let them know that we care and we get it.” . . .
Reached by phone Sunday, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said he wanted to give Hite his own opportunity to elaborate on the specifics of his Saturday night news release.
But he said a major concern among top officials is the nature of many of the crimes committed.
“I think part of the chief’s frustration, and one of mine, too, is that we’re seeing a change in socially acceptable behavior,” Riggs said.
Speaking specifically to early Saturday’s fight at Club Hyde nightclub Downtown, during which one man urged patrons to “keep on fighting” after he punched a security guard, Riggs said he was concerned about what he called “a type of behavior we have not seen before.”
“That’s why we called for a community conversation,” he said. “We need to stop being apathetic, and we need to start having a community conversation to be honest about the issues we are facing.
“We can get these conversations going, but we need public support.” . . .Mayor Ballard was typically missing in action. He thinks that it's Indianapolis residents' fault there aren't more police officers on the street because that 65% increase in the local income tax in 2007, the so-called public safety tax that he opposed when he was running for office, hasn't added a single new police officer to the department's numbers. Morale among rank-and-file police officers couldn't be lower under the leadership of Ballard and Hite, whose primary focus since being named police chief has been the hiring and promoting of more minorities regardless of qualifications.