INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sometimes policing is about being in the right place at the right time — especially for the undercover officers in areas hit hard by violent crime.
Assistant Chief Chris Bailey with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department said the community watched their efforts to stop violent crime play out during Thursday’s shootout at 30th Street and Shadeland Avenue.
A plainclothes officer in an unmarked vehicle saw a shootout and intervened. Two people were injured, and the officer is on administrative leave as the department conducts its internal investigation.
Bailey said because the undercover officer was nearby, the department was able to save lives and take three guns off the street. Two people involved were also arrested on robbery charges.
“If our officer wasn’t there, then we’d have another shooting in our city and no resolution,” said Bailey.
He said the undercover officer is part of a flex team, meaning some days he’s in plainclothes and others in uniform. According to Bailey, while the department responds to shootings, they also want to be responsive to what the community expects out of its police force.
Deciding where and how different officers work is up to each district’s commander, so undercover officers could be anywhere at any time.
“I don’t get excited about large drug seizures or large money seizures. I get excited when we take guns off the street, out of the hands of people who are not supposed to have them,” Bailey said.
He added that typically people involved in drug or gun crimes draw attention to themselves by their behavior. However, situations like Sunday’s mass murder on Adams Street aren’t as easy to pick up on.
“Especially things that happen indoor, that are conflictual, where you have no idea that they’re going to happen,” said Bailey.
He said IMPD’s top priority right now is addressing violent crime. As the department works to hire more officers, his sole focus most days is making sure there is adequate staffing in each district.