FWPD and the Community: Building a Relationship (VIDEO)

By Rachel Martin

April 2, 2013 Updated Apr 3, 2013 at 10:15 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – The crimes may have stopped for the time being, but that doesn’t mean Fort Wayne police are taking a break. Chief Rusty York shares what the police department is doing to stop crime and build a better relationship with the community.

Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York says FWPD has multiple forces, like the Gang Unit, Neighborhood Response Team, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), working together on crimes.

In addition to manning the streets, York says they patrol based on two methods: community policing and data-driven policing.

Community driven policing is when officers are assigned "beats" or specific neighborhoods in which they patrol, and form relationships with area residents. York says FWPD views this way of policing as more of a philosophy, because they do not have officers specifically assigned to certain areas. York says they do, however, have Community Liaison Officers that meet with neighborhood groups monthly.

Data-driven policing is the use of statistics to pinpoint trends like who, what and where crimes are happening. Officers hold weekly, or daily meetings going over the stats to know which areas need the greatest police presence. York says this type of information is helpful to FWPD’s Gang Unit and Neighborhood Response Teams.

“They're out there on a daily basis. They know who the gang members are, they know who the burglars, the armed robbers are, so we're trying to apprehend them. It's just basically our officers being armed with information daily about who is involved in these crimes,” York said.

Even though York says his officers have an idea of whose committing crimes, it’s not that easy to get them off the streets.

“Without those witnesses to corroborate the crime, to tell us who was involved and come in and be interviewed and potentially be a witness, we don't have a lot to go on. I mean, we can't go to the prosecutor's office or go to a judge and say our officers have a pretty good idea of who did this we need a warrant for that person's arrest. That's not going to happen,” he said.

York says most of the shootings that happened this weekend were gang related, but not all of them. However, York says the department has already solved six cases, some within minutes of an incident. He says FWPD couldn’t have done it without the community’s help and willingness. York realizes the community has already taken action on the issues, but wants to break down the barrier of communication further. York considers the community to be the department’s greatest tool in solving crimes.

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