Mayor, FWPD announce new efforts to address public safety issues

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Monday Mayor Tom Henry said public safety concerns are top priority this year. Tuesday he backed that up with a plan for addressing the issues. Police Chief Steve Reed echoed his belief three things continue to be the driving forces behind homicides.

“Drugs, guns, gangs. It’s a lethal combination,” he said.

Already in 2017 there have been three homicides. Reed says they weren’t random.

“My investigators are telling me that they believe to some degree that our first three homicides are drug related. So we need to keep addressing those concerns,” he said.

Part of the plan revealed Tuesday includes adding 28 officers to the department. They’ve also added a Street Crimes Unit.

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“We put that together in order to address some of our property crimes. Burglary, thefts,” Reed said.

Additional resources will be added to the Gang and Violent Crimes Unit. Plus the Vice and Narcotics Unit will continue to address the opioid crisis. The group supervisor for the Fort Wayne DEA says the number of overdoses per week continues to go up, leading to more problems.

“It’s a problem because when you need the fix you’ve got to go somewhere to get it and if you don’t have the money then you have to steal it and that’s the big problem in this city,” Mike Landry said.

Henry and Reed plan to continue their relationships with law enforcement partners, faith based programs, social service agencies and schools. NewsChannel 15 asked Reed, Henry and Landry if they’re hopeful looking ahead to this year and they said yes. But it’ll take the whole community.

“If all of us step forward and say to each other we will not accept this in the norm in the city of Fort Wayne, we are better than this then we will help alleviate this problem and help all of us recognize that Fort Wayne is a great city and this is unacceptable behavior,” Henry said.