INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department will move away from a zone policing model and back toward more traditional, smaller beats.
IMPD will take its 33 current patrol zones, each covering about 11 square miles, and break them up into "beats" encompassing an average of 1.14 square miles each.
Chief Troy Riggs said the new plan was formulated following conversations with officers, civilian personnel and the public.
"This signals a major philosophical shift in the way the department operates and interacts with the community we serve," Riggs said. "As many have said, it is difficult for our officers to be able to engage citizens when they are responsible to covering large areas of the city."
Pleased to see a move toward returning to beat policing strategy vs zone concept. FOP has advocated for this shift since 2012 #Progress
— Rick Snyder (@RickFOP86) March 23, 2016
The philosophical shift comes after the deadliest year recorded in Indianapolis history. An all-time high 144 people were victims of homicide in 2015. Seventeen of those victims were 18 or younger.
The new beat map will also focus more resources into focus areas that account for a disproportionate amount of violent crime.
“When the men and women of IMPD start walking their beats next month, they will get to know the neighborhoods they police, learn firsthand about the challenges and opportunities of a community and establish relationships that will lead to greater communication," Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
Riggs, long a proponent of community policing, said the new model will hopefully help address long-standing issues in parts of the city.
“It is difficult to overcome some of the systemic issues we face,” Riggs said. “With better community relationships, we will remove violent offenders from causing harm, help rebuild lives, and enhance the quality of life of all our citizens. It is a tremendous undertaking, but I believe in IMPD and in Indianapolis and know we can succeed.”
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