State Police investigating operations center lease

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana State Police are closing in this week on wrapping up their investigation into Indianapolis' Regional Operations Center.

For the past six months, police have provided round-the-clock security, detailing two officers to stand watch over a facility where no police work is taking place.

Ever since it opened, just before the 2012 Super Bowl, the Regional Operation Center had been mired in shoddy construction, political controversy and, most recently, a State Police investigation.

The Marion County Prosecutor's Office confirmed Friday that Prosecutor Terry Curry himself asked the State Police to investigate the ROC, but wouldn't comment on the specifics of the request.

Valerie Washington, deputy director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, said investigators have been looking into details regarding the ROC's lease.

"I know they are reaching out to all the key players at the time who were involved in the drafting of the lease," Washington said. "I know they spoke with some staff members about our experience with the building. I think they are looking at start to finish how we ended up here."

The State Police investigation, now more than two months old, has set its sights on two key components of the ROC: the $57,000 monthly lease agreement signed for 20 years, and why the old Eastgate Mall was selected to house the ROC in the first place.

In September, the Dept. of Public Safety shut down the building and moved East District police officers out because the facility had no fire safety walls, a non-working sprinkler system and electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems that failed to meet code.

Dept. of Public Safety officials said they are cooperating fully with the investigation.

"I think it was a tricky business deal," Washington said. "I don't think there were any criminal elements in any way, shape or form, tied to this lease."

Former Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub, who was a driving force behind the move into Eastgate Mall, said that State Police had not interviewed him as part of their investigation.

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