Violence reduction strategies recommended by ‘City of Peace Coalition’ include downtown parent patrol program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — At least 13 people were shot in Indianapolis the weekend before Mayor Joe Hogsett met with various community group leaders to discuss violence reduction strategies.

The hourlong, closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon at Barnes United Methodist Church was led by a newly formed coalition of faith and community leaders.

More than a dozen members of the “City of Peace Coalition” presented the mayor with a list of six recommended strategies for tamping down violent crime.

The group’s key objectives include persuading the city to hire a Public Safety Director with experience building bridges between the police department and local neighborhoods; increasing deployment of street outreach workers; implementing “rapid response teams” of faith and community leaders to help deescalate non-fatal shootings and stabbings; and creating a downtown parent patrol program on Friday and Saturday nights.

“The mayor said that he believes that some, maybe all, of these can be implemented,” said coalition member Aaron Williams, adding the group had requested funding to support their civilian boots-on-the-ground model.

It was unclear how much city funding would be required to effectively implement all six recommendations.

Hogsett was initially expected to join the coalition’s press conference outside the church following the meeting.

However, he quietly exited the church through a side door and took off with his driver, dodging media crews waiting to speak with him.

Mark Bode, the mayor’s deputy communications director, later emailed a statement to News 8 indicating the mayor had not committed to implementing any of the recommendations.

“Mayor Hogsett always appreciates the opportunity to meet with members of our community who want to work together to make Indianapolis neighborhoods safer,” Bode wrote. “In today’s meeting with the City of Peace Coalition, the mayor committed to analyzing the group’s recommendations – recommendations that complement many of the ongoing efforts of the [city’s] Violence Reduction Team and Director Shonna Majors.”

Indianapolis police chief Randal Taylor, who was also present for the discussions at Barnes United Methodist Church, did not make himself available for comment following the meeting.

Assistant police chief Chris Bailey described the talks as “a good meeting” and said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) was committed to continued collaboration with community groups.

Indianapolis is on pace to see more than 220 homicides in 2020.

IMPD assistant chief Chris Bailey bumps elbows with masked City of Peace Coalition members after a closed-door meeting. (WISH Photo/Julia Deng)