EAST CHICAGO | A strong police presence on the streets of East Chicago and Gary late Thursday night led to more than 25 arrests for local officers.
About 100 police officers from more than 12 departments and federal agencies aggressively patrolled targeted areas of the two cities, arresting people with drugs, guns and outstanding warrants.
Confiscated in one arrest was a .45-caliber handgun, mask and an extended bullet clip from a known gang member.
Several drunken driving arrests were made and about seven other arrests picked up people with outstanding felony warrants, said Lake County Deputy Police Chief Dan Murchek.
"We're trying to be proactive by hitting the most active areas of these cities," he said.
While many arrests came from aggressive patrolling, police also focused on trying to make contact with a large number of people within the targeted areas. More often than not, contact was made and officers gave a warning or worked to correct a situation without making an arrest.
Sometimes children want to say hello to the officers, and some of the officers take the time to do that, too.
During a stop in East Chicago, a little girl watched as officers checked for an identification number on a mo-ped.
A police dog was in the back of a nearby squad car also watching the officers. His handler was helping to identify if the mo-ped was stolen.
"Hi doggy," the girl said, waving. "Hi."
Police didn't arrest the man who owned the mo-ped, but towed the bike because it had an obliterated serial number.
Although the dog didn't come out of the car for the call, the canine handler said hello to the girl before clearing the area.
"This is about having a presence out there," Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram said. "It's a good thing — something positive."
Officers from East Chicago, Hammond, Whiting, Gary, Lake County, Lake Station, Munster, Indiana University Northwest, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, Indiana State Police and several federal agencies participated in the operation, which lasted until about 2 a.m. Friday.
This was one of several operations over the past two years that brought together a large group of officers to saturate areas of the region. The last operation, held in June, focused on Gary and the areas to the south and west of the city. Operations also have included hitting parts of Hammond and other cities.
Operations of this nature have been a success, officials said. Local officials plan to continue these operations, Murchek said.