City welcomes new police officers to the ranks

2014-01-16T00:00:00Z 2014-01-23T12:50:22Z City welcomes new police officers to the ranksDamian Rico, The Times
January 16, 2014 12:00 am  • 

EAST CHICAGO | East Chicago will have some new faces patrolling city streets in the near future as Chief Mark J. Becker and Mayor Anthony Copeland swore in nine new officers last week.

"I am very proud of our officers and their commitment to this city and our newest additions will be a tremendous asset to the work we are undertaking," Chief Becker said. "Before taking this job, I remember reading that East Chicago was the region's most dangerous city, per capita. I knew that had to change."

Becker noted that the city has undertaken several innovative steps in recent years to address public safety concerns, such as increased traffic stops and a boost in manpower.

"Our goal is to get 98 officers patrolling the city," added Becker. "We will be at 94 once our (new) officers finish a four-month training. We were very appreciative of the COPS grant and we look to get to our goal very soon."

One of the innovative strategies Becker referred to was the city's partnership with IUN professor Dr. Joseph Ferrandino to identify and map crimes in the city to improve efficiency by sharing resources.

ShotSpotter technology has been an asset as it identifies gunshots in nearly exact locations from which the weapon was fired.

A COPS grant from the Department of Justice is responsible for thew hiring of additional officers.

The East Chicago rookies include William D. Johnsen, Jose C. Velez Jr., John S. Baran Jr., Tomas Garcia, Kyle Wagers, David L. Moran, Steven M. Serna, Anthony M. Phipps and Amanda M. Klinger.

“This is a sizable increase in our police work force. Public safety has been one of our top priorities," Mayor Copeland said. "The chief has assured me we will have one of the most professional police departments in the State of Indiana, and we are well underway to accomplishing that goal.”

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