EDITORIAL: Each police force could use this scrutiny

2013-12-27T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: Each police force could use this scrutiny nwitimes.com
December 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Gary Police Department has made a number of changes since the state review ordered by Gov. Mike Pence. That's good for the department, and good for the city.

There's a long way to go, but a transformation of the department has begun.

Among the changes made so far has been to increase the number of feet on the street. The department now has 66 percent of its officers on patrol, up significantly from the previous 40 percent. Officers who once were on desk duty have been reassigned to patrol.

That puts the department back where it should have been, and where other departments should be as well.

In addition, the department is moving toward the acquisition of 50 new in-car computers through grants and donations.

A review of the Gary Police Department's operations by a team of outside experts, led by the Indiana State Police, indicated the department needed to beef up manpower, increase training, acquire modern equipment and revise procedures to instill discipline.

It was a scathing report, and it is being taken to heart.

Pence ordered the report after Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson asked him to send Indiana State Police troopers to help respond to a wave of homicides in the city.

The review was born of a cry for help. The city didn't get the help the mayor sought, but it's valuable help nonetheless.

Considering what good has come out of this Gary Police Department review, this process should be considered a pilot for similar reviews elsewhere.

Other municipal police departments should undergo similar scrutiny to ensure each police force is using its resources wisely.

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