INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett and Police Chief Randal Taylor called the news media together Tuesday to talk about the city’s response to the growing violence, but the announcement left some community groups with the same questions they had before the news conference started.
The two gave remarks alongside Shonna Major, the city’s community violence reduction director, and City-County Council President Vop Osili at the Rise Star apartments on the east side.
The city is working with that neighborhood with the help of a grant and a series of outreach programs.
While the mayor discussed programs already in place and talked about where some grant money would be used, a plan to combat the spike in crime was never laid out.
Hogsett and Osili each said community groups and outreach programs are a step in the right direction. Osili pointed to poverty and systemic issues, which he said are decades-old, as being major factors.
“I think the question needs to come back to how did we get here and what are we gonna do about it now that we’re here, and I would ask our media to push on that to drive that home so that we all understand the roles that we have played and the roles that we can play going forward,” Osili said.
However when asked how the city got to the point it’s at and what can be done right now to help, a clear answer was never given.
Hogsett said, “All of these things, as the president (Osili) said, really show an overall impoverishment of too many sectors in too many neighborhoods across too many stratas of our city and, unless we as a community begin to make progress in the areas of poverty, I think we are going to continue to see challenge.”
Taylor, who heads Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, agreed partnerships are important, but said murders have become so random that partnerships can’t be all the city relies on.
“It’s easier to identify people who have shown a historic propensity for violence, for being involved in the drug game, for doing whatever they’re doing that we know is violent. But when you have persons who are committing murders over a parking space, a social media post, a disagreement, then we’ve got problems,” Taylor said.
Hogsett brought up the city’s recently approved 2021 budget and how part of it will be used to hire more officers. When asked about possibly vetoing Proposal 237 that was voted on Monday — the measure takes some power away from IMPD and hands it to civilians — Hogsett said, at this point because of overwhelming support from the City-County Council, he’s inclined to sign it.
However, he said he needed to go back and read all of the amendments before he could decide.