IMPD launches first 'Operation New Normal' social services sweep

INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite the snow, Indianapolis police officers were out in force in a Near Eastside neighborhood Tuesday as part of an Operation New Normal social services sweep.

The sweeps are intended as follow-ups to criminal sweeps – like Operation First Step in June and another large drug sweep on the east side in October. They are part of an effort by IMPD to connect underserved populations with social services, and to help fill the void that can be left when a household's primary breadwinner is arrested.

The area of the city targeted in this first Operation New Normal sweep was part of a larger effort in October that netted nearly 200 arrests, along with the seizure of what IMPD described as large amounts of cocaine and heroin.

MORE | IMPD grabs guns, drugs & 200 arrests in latest sweep | Indianapolis police arrest 26 offenders & drug dealers in Operation First Step | 'Operation Glass Houses' nets 41 arrests in connection to alleged Indy meth ring

IMPD Chief Troy Riggs said at the time that police would be back to offer social services.

"We're not going into a neighborhood and locking up somebody on a street corner for a minor crime," Riggs said. "We're going into specific homes based on our social disorder index, we're looking for specific individuals, and then we're wrapping around with social services."

Tuesday's effort targeted an area bounded by Michigan and New York streets on the north and south, and Grant and Linwood avenues on the west and east.

At least 30 police reports have been filed in the area in the past three months, including six reports of burglary and five reports of vandalism.

Within a 1-mile radius of the area, police have been called within that same time period on 134 assaults, 113 burglaries, 154 larcenies and 57 vehicle thefts, in addition to 360 miscellaneous calls.

IMPD said Tuesday's sweep would offer residents services ranging from on-site flu clinics and scheduling appointments for health care clinics to rent and utility support. Other city employees will also be on hand to taken an inventory of illegal trash dumping, abandoned homes and other quality of life issues in the area. 

On Wednesday, IMPD released results from the sweep. As part of the effort, Gleaners Food Bank provided more than 300 meals that will feed a family of four for a week. Santa Claus, who joined IMPD officers, provided toys to an estimated 450 children. Officers also visited 200 households to offer services, which produced the following requests:

  •  Smoke detector- 20
  •  Utility assistance- 12
  •  Food & clothing- 10
  •  Housing and rent assistance- 4
  •  Code enforcement tips- 4
  •  Narcotics tip- 2
  •  Employment- 9
  •   Health insurance-7
    •   12 people signed up at event now have health insurance
  •   State I.d. or driver’s license- 5
  •   Primary care- 3
  •   Transportation- 5
  •   Birth certificates- 2
  •   Legal services- 1
  •   Flu shots- 14
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