INDIANAPOLIS -- A 32-year veteran with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is retiring after decades of fighting crime on the city’s west side.
Sgt. Lori Himmel, who works in community relations at IMPD’s Southwest District in Haughville, is stepping down on Jan. 22, 2018.
She’s fought crime by educating children and adults through neighborhood crime watch meetings, walking door-to-door, speaking at events and other means.
“We’re there to be more ahead of the game and to try to be more proactive rather than reactive,” said Himmel.
The southwest district covers Wayne and Decatur townships, as well as parts of Perry and Center Townships.
“We used to have 33 square-miles and now we’re almost 81 square-miles,” said Himmel. “That’s about 138,000 people.”
The biggest concern she hears from citizens is whether they are safe and what they should do if something happens.
The near west side is among the worst in the city for youth homicides, and they’ve also had an uptick in murders — nine so far this year, compared to six last year.
“Every crime stat is too many,” said Himmel. “It’s too much. I’d love to be out of a job.”
Himmel said the key to cutting crime and keeping your neighborhood safe is to open your eyes and speak up.
“You’re just so focused, we’ve got tunnel vision and this is what I do Monday through Friday,” said Himmel. “Be a good neighbor. That’s what it takes.”
Himmel said much of the crime is because someone sees an opportunity, and she believes community policing is key to turning things around.
“It’s a big part of it, but it’s very difficult to measure,” said Himmel.
City leaders and fellow officers describe her as dedicated, compassionate, and relentless.
“She is a deeply committed and driven officer who cares deeply about the constitutes of the Southwest District,” said Sgt. Kendale Adams, who has worked with Sgt. Himmel. “Sgt. Himmel has a deep and rich understanding of the unique needs of those who live on the west side of Indianapolis. Sgt. Himmel knows how to get things done. A constant community builder who would lay down her own life to save yours.”
Himmel said she will miss the people the most.
"You're what drives my passion because I can help you one on one or as a group,” said Himmel. “None of us can do it by ourselves."
Himmel encourages people to call police if they see something out of place or suspicious, and to get involved in their neighborhood, such as with a crime watch group.
“Get to know who lives around you, because you’ll understand how your neighborhood works,” said Himmel.
Himmel plans to stay in Central Indiana, close to her blended family and granddaughter.