INDIANAPOLIS - The makeup of the Indianapolis police force will soon change with the elimination of neighborhood resource officers.
NRO units typically deal with longer-term issues, such as homeless camps, drug houses and other issues that can't be solved in a short visit from an officer, along with attending community organization and neighborhood group meetings.
The NRO units will be put in the daily mix and will respond to 911 calls and work on daily runs.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite said the changes are all part of his plan to make the streets of Indianapolis safer.
"Patrol is the backbone of every department, and that core group of officers has needed that assistance and we're gonna provide that assistance," Hite said.
NRO units play an important part in communicating on a regular basis with groups like the faith-based Ten Point Coalition.
Rev. Charles Harrison is a community leader who said the NRO units are crucial, but he is hopeful that eliminating the units could lead to a positive outcome.
"Those officers that are going on the street now, we would like to see them really pay more attention to this group of youth who are the most at-risk youth, doing more community policing and dealing on the street with those who are most likely to be either the victim of violence or the perpetrators of violent crime," Harrison said.
The move will affect about 200 officers currently assigned to NRO duty, typically veteran officers of the Indianapolis police force.
The NRO change will take place effective Jan. 1, with officers who were in the program put into the standard police run queue, though time will be set aside for longer term issues.
Indianapolis has been dealing with a shortage of officers, and this move is anticipated to mitigate that.