Report finds staffing, other woes for Gary police

By The Associated Press

GARY — Instead of the dozens of Indiana state troopers that Gary’s mayor had sought to help its police force, the state is offering assistance with training, processing evidence and technology.

The offer from Gov. Mike Pence came with the release Thursday of a state-led review of the Gary Police Department, which found staffing shortages and a lack of discipline and respect for commanders.

Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson asked Pence in July to send 60 state troopers to Gary for a major show of force in the city long troubled by high rates of murder and drug crimes.

Pence, instead, had state police lead a review of the Gary police force’s efficiency and its ability to fight violence in the northwestern Indiana city of 80,000.

The review found that 40 percent of Gary’s some 220 officers are assigned to nonpatrol duties, while the national average recommendation is 60 percent, The Times of Munster and the Post-Tribune reported. The report also found a lack of direction and discipline within the department and a “profound lack of respect for authority by the rank and file.”

The report said the department has many good officers, but the “majority of these people feel they are getting swallowed up in an environment of apathy; political favoritism; low pay and benefits; poor relations with the community; and poor relationships with their command and their fellow officers, some of whom have been involved in criminal activity.”

Freeman-Wilson, who was elected mayor in 2011, said in a joint statement with Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram released by the mayor’s office Friday that they would examine the state report along with a previous assessment of the department done by the International Association of Chiefs and continue working with Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

“We will review all external input and offers to assist as we move forward to access the help needed and make the changes that we deem appropriate,” the statement said.

The statement said no further comment would be made until officials had the opportunity to review the findings and discuss next steps.

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