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Gary Weighing Options After State Police Report

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October 4, 2013 — City of Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram will have their hands full addressing major Gary Police Department concerns highlighted by a special task force.

Governor Mike Pence issued the report Thursday night along with an offer of assistance to the city in three areas: Training, Evidentiary Issues and Technology.

Pence offered internal help instead of the increased law enforcement presence requested by Mayor Freeman-Wilson in late July when homicides surpassed those from the previous year.

A statement from the mayor’s office thanked Governor Pence for requesting that Superintendent Doug Carter convene the Indiana State Police Gary Technical Assistance Team.

It also reads:

“It is our intent to review this report in the context of the previous assessment of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the work of the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center and our work with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.  We will review all external input and offers to assist as we move forward to access the help needed and make the changes that we deem appropriate.”

Those changes suggested by the GPD Technical Assistance Team, outlined in a 13-page report, start with three primary concerns.  The first is a “profound lack of direction, authority and discipline within the department, including the open undermining of the chief’s authority.”

The second concern pertains to “critical deficiencies with record keeping and a lack of electronic records in virtually all aspects of department operations.”

A third concern states that “allocation of police personnel is not based on calls for service or community needs” mainly due to current staffing not being at budgeted levels.  Other observations cited deal with budget, training and equipment issues.

While the city is providing no additional comments about the report at this time, the Technical Assistance Team offered several recommendations regarding its observations.

In addressing the internal structure, the team recommended shifting the GPD deputy chief appointment from the mayor to the police chief.  It also states that the police chief should select staff commanders after an outside agency board makes recommendations.  The report notes an overwhelming response from department members skeptical of the leadership skills of current Special Operations Commander Sean Jones, who has a previous felony conviction.  The team recommends replacing Jones.

The report states the Gary Police Department is not using its computer technology as it should, so the team recommends basic computer classes and a technology upgrade when needed.

Bringing GPD in line with national standards was one of the final recommendations related to the third area of concern.  The report states the department has 40% of its staff dedicated to uniform patrol operations.  The recommended national average is 60%.  The report also suggests increasing visibility within neighborhoods and using reserve officers or private security instead of staffing officers at City Hall, the Metro Transportation Center and airport.

By: Renetta DuBose

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