Indianapolis police recently hosted two “community day” events to build positive community relationships after a violent week with two officer-involved shootings.
The events brought together groups of adults and children to ask questions to police in a friendly manner and most importantly, have fun.
“I really think it’s amazing that police are able to pull this all together and are able to have a good community,” Indianapolis resident Dim’Mya Norman said. “It’s really heartwarming.”
Norman said the events happened at the right time during a tumultuous period for the city.
“This city has been through a lot of drama, ups and downs, and to see people and the police able to walk with people and talk with people and make contact, it’s special. It’s very important because there’s a lot of crimes going on obviously and to see people gathered at something like this is great.”
Early in September, IMPD officers shot and killed a suspect wanted for homicide – 33-year-old James Williams – as he was raising his gun to fire at officers.
Police hosted events at Haughville Park and Speedway, Indiana, where they turned kids into “Junior Officers,” giving them badges and letting them play with the police lights and sirens.
IMPD Southwest District Commander Tanya Terry explained more about the event and its importance.
“They have their part and we have our part but we can’t work independently of each other. We have to work together. That’s what we need. We need the communities’ involvement to help us make the community better.” Terry said. “These are some of our favorite moments as officers. When we get to let the kids climb in the car and turn the lights and sirens on and ask us questions about all the tools that we carry or, you know, give ’em out their own police badge to put on their shirt.”
The event in Speedway was the first of its kind hosted by police, where they let kids sit in squad cars and experience what it feels like to be a cop for a day.
“I think it’s very positive,” Speedway Parks Director Tammy Smith told Fox 59. “The more you can interact with law enforcement the better. They’re just everyday people too, just like us, they’ve got a servant’s heart and they want to get out and serve others. That’s why we do it.”
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said that events like these can help prevent crime in the first place.
“It’s a win-win really for us to have these. If we can do things that are gonna keep the crime from occurring in the first place, that’s where we’d rather be, and this is one of those events that allows that to happen.”
IMPD’s Northwest District plans to host similar events this month, and more are expected to come later in the year as well.