Criminal Justice

Gary Has State’s Report about Gary Police Review

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October 4, 2013 — The City of Gary says it is working on a reply to Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s letter and 13-page State Police report about deficiencies with the City’s police efforts.

Pence sent the report from the State’s Gary Technical Assistance Team to Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.  She requested Pence’s help with Gary’s policing efforts during the summer as Gary’s 2013 murder rate was double its 2012 incidence of homicide.

Pence wrote, “This report is the product of an unprecedented partnership between the Indiana State Police (ISP) and numerous local and federal offices in Northwest Indiana. This report also would not have been possible absent collaboration from your office as well as the Gary Police Department (GPD).”

To see the full report, click the link: 10-03-2013 Gary PD Assessment Report

The Governor said that the Gary Technical Assistance Team focused on staffing, budget, training, and equipment, areas it will review when it reconvenes in December to review Gary’s progress on issues identified in the report.

The Technical Assistance Team’s report says it, “spoke to a number of officers and civilian employees who expressed genuine concern for the current status and future of the police department, its personnel, and the citizens of Gary. Those interviewed indicated there are many good officers and employees with the police department who perform, and want to continue to perform, quality work.  The majority of these people feel they are getting swallowed up in an environment of apathy;  political favoritism;  low pay and benefits;  poor relations with the community;  and poor relationships with their command, and their fellow officers, some of whom have been involved in criminal activity.”

The Team noted, “The employees’ willingness to speak openly with GPDTAT speaks volumes to their desire to see a better future for the Gary Police Department and the City of Gary. It also speaks to the relevance of the GPDTAT’s task, and expectations of GPD employees the team’s efforts will provide direction for improvement desired by all stake holders.”

The Team identified three primary areas that require immediate attention:

1) There is a profound lack of direction, authority, and discipline within the GPD; an equally profound lack of respect for authority by the rank in file; a lack of supervisor training and accountability; and, open undermining of the chief’s authority.

2) The GPD and the City, as it relates to the police department, have critical deficiencies with record keeping and a lack of electronic records in virtually all aspects of department operations.

3) Current allocation of police personnel is not based on calls for service or community needs.

The Team says, “T he purpose of this assessment was to provide an unbiased review of the Gary Police Department. This was accomplished by assembling a team of law enforcement professionals from the local region, as well as from across the state.  The assessment provides direction for the Gary Police Department to follow as they adopt new policies and procedures, as well as enforce existing policies to improve the operation of the department.  Over the course of this assessment many dedicated officers were interviewed, all of which desire improvement of the police department.  Empowerment of these officers, while implementing the points outlined in this assessment, is the key to building a successful department that will provide service and value to the citizens of Gary, Indiana.  All recommendations should be properly vetted by Gary City Legal for compliance with the FOP contract, state and federal law.”

Governor Pence says that after reviewing the findings he immediately offered the Mayor the following forms of assistance:

Training assistance:  ISP is to provide, at no expense to the City of Gary, training assistance for the GPD, including “basic training refresher at ILEA for all GPD officers;  training for GPD administrative staff in strategic planning, record keeping, department policies and procedures, and staffing matrices;  and conduct a seminar for GPD field level command in better utilization of ShotSpotter, which will help GPD better respond to and deter violent crime in the City of Gary.”

Evidentiary issues:  ISP is to assist GPD in addressing evidentiary issues, ready to serve as an “evidentiary pipeline between GPD and the State Crime Lab.”

Technology:  ISP is “to work with the Indiana Office of Technology to review current GPD information technology and future capabilities and make recommendations that will improve GPD operations.”

Pence wrote, “I hope you will respond positively to this report and the new offers of assistance that the State of Indiana is extending to you as a result of the findings,” signing his letter, “Michael R. Pence.”

The City says it is working on its response.

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