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How IMPD and local leaders are working to prevent violent protests

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and community leaders are monitoring the situation in Charlotte. A scene they’re taking steps to avoid in Indianapolis.

The Charlotte images have kept Reverend Charles Harrison’s eyes glued to the TV.

“If you’re going to protest for justice, you want to keep the protest focused on what the issue was, and I thought the issue was swallowed up in the violence that took place last night,” Reverend Harrison said.

Reverend Harrison runs the Ten Point Coalition, a group which promotes peace as it walks Indianapolis’ streets.

Efforts Reverend Harrison says they need to make, because violence could happen here. “You have to have relationships with the people who are most affected by their encounters with the police department who might be the most angry people who are impacted by the police,” Reverend Harrison said.

Reverend Harrison not the only one taking this approach. In downtown Indianapolis, IMPD is doing something similar with its policing.

“We’ve had community meetings, we’ve gone to beat policing,” IMPD Major Richard Riddle said. “We’ve gotten people out, our officers out into the community to engage with the residents that they serve.”

A tactic the department implemented this year. While they’ve made improvements, IMPD knows it has a ways to go.

“What we need to do is show and prove what we we’re doing is effective, it works, build up that confidence for people to call in with concerns in their community,” Major Riddle said.

Building trust is something Reverend Harrison is working on as well. A team effort he hopes would create a different situation in Indianapolis.

“You have the right to ask for transparency,” Reverend Harrison said. “You have the right to ask for judgement. What you don’t have the right to do is to protest violently and to loot and to burn businesses.”

Leaders are also working on a game plan in case violence were to happen. Reverend Harrison said they would monitor social media, take part in protest, and if riots occur, try to defuse the situation.