Lake County law enforcement officials are forming a full-time regional team of officers to attack criminal violence and property crimes.
A statement issued Thursday morning by East Chicago Police Chief Mark Becker states the multiagency task force will be known as the Region Stop Team.
It will entail a full-time team of 13 Gary, Hammond, East Chicago and county police to perform community outreach, traffic enforcement, patrols, surveillance and other investigations, Becker said.
The Crown Point, Dyer, Griffith, Highland, Munster, Schererville and Whiting police departments and the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District's security force will join the permanent team on a part-time, as-needed, basis, according to Becker's statement.
U.S. Attorney David Capp and Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter have pledged their support in pursuing criminal charges against those arrested.
Indiana University Northwest's School of Public and Environmental Affairs and Center of Urban and Regional Excellence will provide crime mapping and other forensic analysis of the Stop Team's targets and outcomes, police said.
Thursday's announcement comes several weeks after police chiefs of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond and Lake County Sheriff John Buncich met in the wake of a homicide spree in Gary as well as other violent crimes.
Becker, who will be in overall command of the team, said it will be based out of an East Chicago police substation at the intersection of 150th Street and Baring Avenue. Anyone with public safety concerns are urged to call the team at (219) 398-2677. They may make anonymous tips.