INDIANAPOLIS - A third-generation homicide detective who felt a calling to fight crime at a deeper level wants to bring a new program to Indianapolis.
Detective Harry Dunn's job is to solve cases, but he felt compelled to do more to solve the underlying problem.
"Based upon the job that I have as a homicide detective, I'm charged and challenged with coming up with different ways and new ways of how to fight crime. I call it an 'active theater' every day is what I do. And I believe it's coming to a theater near you if we don't get involved," Dunn said.
Dunn is getting involved in a big way. He bought an old school on East 30th Street where he plans to open a HIM by HER Foundation Skills Development Center. HIM by HER stands for Helping Improve Mankind by Healing Every Race.
The old gymnasium will be transformed into a miniature city called 'Enterprise City' -- where kids will work in businesses, banks, restaurants and even a city hall after school from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. That is the time kids and adults are most at-risk of getting into trouble on the streets.
"And it's where kids get to actively get engaged in playing the role of the police officer, you play the role of the judge, you play the role of the business owner, the shopkeeper. We're trying to teach individuals instead of maybe wanting to be the rapper, why not try to own the studio. Instead of maybe being the football player, maybe we can teach you how to own the stadium," Dunn said.
While kids will learn in ‘Enterprise City,’ their parents can also learn skills in classrooms down the hall. Adults will get vocational training to become certified plumbers, electricians, cosmetologists and painters. Those jobs will hopefully keep them off the streets and out of the court systems.
"I have two boys, 16 and 17 years old. Statistics have shown that 50 percent of young, black males are said not to make it. I have two boys. That's saying that one of mine is not going to make it. I have to get involved. I have to fight back," Dunn said.
Dunn’s goal is to raise about $2 million to get the doors open by the end of the year or by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
"It's going to take the donations from the community. We're asking for local philanthropists, local business owners, local community leaders to donate to this program to help get this center open to make it available to young adults and their parents so we can make a generational difference," Dunn said.
In other cities, the program has helped about 13,000 kids each year.