Indy To Enlist Ex-Gang Members, Drug Dealers In Crime Fight
Former Offenders To Be Employed As Outreach Workers
Last Updated: 1129 days ago
Marion County public safety leaders want to take a different tack in fighting Indianapolis' crime problem by hiring former offenders.Former gang members and drug dealers would be transformed into outreach workers, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.The ex-offenders would respond to violent crime scenes to defuse tension and the threat of retaliation.Authorities think that the ex-offender status of outreach workers would give them and their message street credibility."They are ex-gang members and drug dealers who will not officially be working for us, but who want to give back to the community," said the Rev. Charles Harrison, of the Ten Point Coalition. "They will be a part of our crisis team."Norvell Terry grew up on the city's troubled east side, belonged to a gang and sold drugs.After spending nine years in prison, he has turned his life around, working 30 hours a week trying to convince others to do the same."I put in my work out here. I earned the right to be able to come to any neighborhood and be able to talk to anyone out here," said Terry, one of four current outreach workers.He's in favor of plans by the city to hire five more ex-offenders to try and reach out in struggling communities."They're willing to give back for all the strife they've done in their life, they paid their dues to society and now they want to help kids," he said.The plan is part of several strategies announced by Indianapolis Metro Police Chief Paul Ciesielski and Mayor Greg Ballard to combat a summer spike in crime.The initiative will target drug dealing and the use of illegal guns, two crimes that police consider most responsible for the city's burgeoning homicide rate, which stands at 43 for the year so far.