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Gary Police Department Commanders Anthony Titus, l-r, James Bond, and Edward Gonzalez

Gary counts successes from partnership with Indiana State Police

Contributed By: The 411 News

More officers on the street means safety for the community and police

Proof of the progress happening in the Gary Police Dept. since the Indiana State Police was invited in to review operations and lend its managerial support was offered at a press conference Friday.

When Gary Mayor Jerome Prince initiated the partnership with the state police in April, 2022, he estimated their involvement would last about 3 months.

"It's almost a year now; we're still here," said ISP Supt. Doug Carter. "There are 26 state police agencies in the country and we all communicate pretty routinely. They're all watching Gary, Indiana. And that makes me so incredibly proud."

Making that progress happen, Mayor Prince said, is Gary's Interim Police Chief Jerry Williams, an ISP major on leave from the state agency. "I've heard from our residents that they're glad to know we have additional assistance."

"Chief Williams has done a very good job of picking out specific areas to provide better operations and environments for our residents and for the men and women who perform those services every day," Mayor Prince said, "and he has established tremendous relationships with law enforcement professionals across the state."

One of the specific areas addressed came from the cries and concerns from the community and from the media, Chief Williams said. "We were asked 'what were you going to do to address patrol presence on the streets in the city of Gary?'"

Added to that, there were complaints that Gary police took too long to respond to calls for assistance.

"I'm proud to say that the department, led by three commanders here today, is moving in that direction. We've increased our patrol capacity, up to as much as 50% on any given shift," the chief said and he introduced newly promoted commanders Anthony Titus, Edward Gonzalez, and James Bond. Williams described the commanders as "wickedly smart with fresh eyes."

Patrol, answering calls for service is our primary goal, said Anthony Titus, Commander of the Uniform Services Division.

"The manpower in special details that roamed the city investigating things like auto thefts, burglaries, and gang activity was funneled back into the patrol schedule, becoming part of the rotation answering calls for service," Titus said. "We didn't neglect those issues. Instead, we were able to target the sector where they were occurring and increase police presence there."

On some shifts, only 6-8 officers were patrolling Gary, a city of 52 square miles. That became a concern within the agency for officer safety. Reallocating the special details also helped to resolve that issue. Titus said they saw immediate success.

"Almost immediately, within the first week, we heard officers saying that they felt more confident to go out there because they had real resources and other officers there to back them up. At the end of the day, this is safer for my community. In some situations, an officer working alone raises the chance of use of force. It is less likely when there are two or three officers involved," Chief Williams said.

Within police department operations, Chief Williams described improvements being advanced for new uniforms, fleet analysis, training for supervisors, officer hiring and selection, and evaluations.

For the first time, applications for the police department can be completed online. The department is hiring and accepting applications until April 5.

The department's website is being built to include a component allowing the community to report anonymously on incidents.

Another boost for the GPD came from Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter. At the press conference, he announced the assignment of Deputy Prosecutor Veronica Gonzalez to work in the detective bureau at the Gary Public Safety Facility.

Gonzalez will provide training on warrants and report writing, and file cases. Prosecutor Carter said Gonzalez, who specializes in homicide cases, will bring experience and expertise to help improve the prosecution of cases coming from Gary.

Carter also unveiled the Lake County Prosecutor's Homicide Task Force, responsible for investigating homicides in Lake County. The task force is comprised of detectives from Gary, the Indiana State Police, and Indiana Excise Police. They will investigate homicides in Gary and in other communities upon request.

Story Posted:03/21/2023

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