Saturday, June 20, 2009

Is IMPD Earning The Public's Respect?

The Star's Jon Murray has a report today suggesting that IMPD is regaining the public's respect allegedly due to its "swift response" to corruption uncovered within the department over the past year. Murray writes:

Some community leaders who had feared escalating corruption say the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's swift response to the scandal has begun to ease suspicions in the neighborhoods that need police protection most.

Beyond the launch of the department's "integrity plan," announced in July, the community leaders are heartened by improvements in transparency and outreach by IMPD to community organizations.

"They're keeping the leadership in the black community in the loop and informed," said the Rev. Charles Harrison, board president of the Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group founded to address youth violence.

His assessment of residents' faith in police? "Not where we want it to be, but it's better."

William T. Benjamin, IMPD's deputy chief of investigations, sees the return of polygraph testing as a key confidence builder, both inside and outside the department. The Indianapolis Police Department had used random testing for sensitive positions, but it was dropped in the 2007 merger with the Marion County Sheriff's Department.

"We are policing ourselves," Benjamin said, noting that the officers accused of wrongdoing were just a fraction of the force of 1,600.
I've got one small suggestion for Murray, who generally does an outstanding job with his reporting at the Star. Don't rely on Rev. Harrison for advice on how IMPD is doing. Remember when the ministers shook down the City for money back when Bart Peterson was still mayor, threatening to shut down construction on Lucas Oil Stadium? Mayor Greg Ballard gave Rev. Harrison and those other ministers what Mayor Peterson didn't give them--money. Yeah, Harrison's Ten Point Coalition received a $170,000 "crime prevention grant" from the City earlier this year, one of the $4.5 million the City doled out despite tough budgetary times.

Murray might have spoken to 70-year-old Mary Minton and her 72-year-old ailing husband. This past Thursday, IMPD, the Sheriff's Department and U.S. Marshal's fanned out across the City doing warrant sweeps according to WRTV. Minton says police, looking for someone at another address down the street from her home, barged in and ordered her ailing husband (he's had four strokes) to the floor. "I want them to come in here and tell me that they're sorry," Marye Minton said. "Not on the phone, don't send me a letter. Come in my door, like you sent your men in my house." To be fair, the officers who made the mistake work for Sheriff Frank Anderson and not IMPD.


Unknown said...

So, you're criticizing IMPD by citing the actions of the Sheriff's Department warrant squad, which is in no way connected to IMPD. Does that somehow make sense in your mind?

Gary R. Welsh said...

The mistake here was made by the Sheriff's department, but such mistakes haven't been limited to the sheriff's department alone. A better example of public concern for IMPD's relationship with the public would be the account of Dana Bradbury and his run-in with IMPD, which you can view here at Ruth Holladay's blog: