INDIANAPOLIS - Staffing levels inside the Indianapolis Metro Police Department have dropped to their lowest point since the merger with the Marion County Sheriff's Department, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.
In order to increase their visibility and viability, the IMPD traffic branch has been tapped to help stop crime.
IMPD Officer Tim Butler has worked the past 25 years in the traffic branch and has recently taken on traffic and patrol duties.
"When we check their license status, we'll check to see if there are any warrants," Butler said.
In January, the department shifted 20 traffic officers to work in hot zones, the city's most crime-challenged neighborhoods. The small unit has put in more than 2,000 hours of patrol time, but greater visibility is only one of the goals, IMPD Deputy Chief Mike Bates said.
"They've made 50 arrests. They issued 1500 to 1600 traffic tickets in those areas. They each take radio runs in those areas when hot runs come out. They jump on those to assist the districts," Bates said.
Over the past three months, the traffic unit has arrested people wanted on warrants. Officers have recovered firearms and narcotics. And because criminals use vehicles to travel to and from their crimes, a minor traffic stop can lead to major results.
"Here recently, in the last couple of weeks, with just a minor traffic stop, they've located a stolen car, and people wanted in a murder just a week or so ago," Butler said.
The downside of committing so many traffic officers to fighting crime has been a loss of ticket revenue and an increase in vehicle accidents and injuries.
"Revenue is important. But safety is more important. The tickets are there. And the arrests, concentrating in these high crime areas, I think, really helps public safety," Butler said.
Indianapolis teen inspired to help homeless
A Ben Davis High School student hit the streets of Indianapolis on Wednesday, hoping to help the city's homeless as they brace for winter.
Experts warn against kids using pellet guns
As new details emerged about the moments before Cleveland police fatally shot a 12-year-old boy playing with an airsoft gun, local experts…
Fire chief: North Vernon fire intentionally set
A massive fire in a southern Indiana city that swept through a row of century-old buildings, causing two to collapse, was intentionally set,…
Judge allows Indianapolis park deer hunt
The controversial plan to hunt deer this weekend in Eagle Creek Park will go forward, a judge ruled Wednesday evening.
Firefighters share meals at family-style tables
Although local firefighters will be working on Thanksgiving, they will still give thanks while gathering around the table together.
Applications open for pre-K pilot
Child advocates want to get the word out to low-income families that the Office of Early Education and Out-of-School learning is now…