Speedway Community-Police Partnerships: 2016 Year in Review – Part 2

ICYMI: We’d like to present a recap of some of the community policing initiatives from the Speedway Police Department during 2016 in this 4-part series.

April

A police standoff with a suspect who had been living in his van in a Speedway neighborhood stresses the importance of promptly reporting suspicious activity to local law enforcement. The Speedway community supports officers on scene with food & beverages.

Speedway Police Officers and Firefighters who graduated from Speedway schools are featured in “Speedway Hometown Heroes” video. Watch below to learn more about the Speedway Fire Department’s Capt. JP Mathews, Pvt. Eric Emerson Jr., Engineer/Arson Investigator Pete Foltz, Battalion Chief Jeff Hartman, Capt. Brian Wyatt, Lt. Jim Otte, Engineer Aaron Steffy. As they talked about their school teachers who provided positive influences in their life, a nod was given to Speedway High School teacher Becky Kilgore, a graduate of the Speedway Police Citizens Academy and also of the Volunteers in Policing program, Tier 2. Becky can often be seen around town, assisting SPD with traffic direction and control at various events.

The video then features Speedway Police officers, and that the type of service and dedication to the safety and security of every resident is part of a culture and commitment that all Speedway police take seriously.

Speedway Hometown Heroes

Patrolman Joe Harmon indicated that being from Speedway offers a connection to the town and residents that improves community policing. He says of the town, “In this town where I grew up, I know people here, I have a connection to it. I feel like I can make a difference here.”

Speedway Hometown Heroes

Sgt. Rod Ferguson explains, “Our town is unique, the fire department, the police department..the whole thing is unique. I grew up here and have a lot of pride.” Speedway Hometown Heroes

Sgt. Robert Dine states, “I’m a fourth generation police officer so law enforcement is kind of the family business. I loved listening to the radio, hearing what was going on, hearing the stories…as a young kid…and the camaraderie that exists in law enforcement. I think there was never any doubt as to what I was going to do.”

Speedway Hometown Heroes

Patrolman/Code Officer Joe Kramer states of his fellow Speedway Officers, “I’m proud to serve with the guys I work with, I really am. You have to be strong willed, you have to go by your morals, you have to go by your instinct and you just have to be true to yourself.”

Speedway Hometown Heroes

Part of the camaraderie shared by officers is also of the difficulties and memories that never go away. School Resource Officer Mark Jones indicates: “We see the worst that the world has to offer and over a period of time it really weighs on you. Of course, in my career, I can still see things when I close my eyes…some of the bad things you wish would go away.”

Speedway Hometown Heroes

Speaking of their upbringing and education from Speedway schools, they all agreed that they were taught to have pride and respect for our community.

Also highlighted is the progressive nature of the Speedway Police Department, being one of the first in the country to take the lead to create the full time position of School Resource Officer. SRO Jones says “it just goes to show the commitment that the town and the police department has made to the school system. They’ve committed 100% of my time to the schools.”Speedway Hometown Heroes

The video highlights the fact that in Speedway, “community policing” is not just a phrase, it’s being there for their neighbors. Speedway Police live it every day, whether their ability to be anywhere in two minutes, helping with school crossings, and talking to kids. Serving the community and making it a better place!

Below, Code Enforcement Officer Joe Kramer, Sgt. Rod Ferguson, SRO Mark Jones and Sgt. Robert Dine share their Speedway High School Yearbooks.

Speedway Hometown Heroes

You can watch the whole video below:

Speedway Hometown Heroes from CIESC on Vimeo.

Speedway Police and volunteers from the Citizens Academy and Volunteers in Policing programs assist Central Indiana Crimestoppers for the first of two biannual “Shred-it Days.” Proceeds from donations assist in crime solving efforts, by contributing to the reward fund.

Congratulations to Sgt. Jeff Griffin on serving for 25 years as a Reserve Officer with the Speedway Police Department.2016 SPD Community Policing

In addition, the department welcomed three new Reserve Officers, Chris Pope, Eric Scheffel, and Nick Sturgeon. Officer Pope was a graduate of the Speedway Police Citizens Academy, and joined the Volunteers in Policing program, moving up to the Tier 2 level before deciding to go straight to the Reserve Division. Congratulations to all, and thank you for your service!2016 SPD Community Policing

The Speedway Chamber of Commerce held a Coffee Crawl event on Main Street, featuring “coffee and conversation” with leaders of the town’s various departments, including administration from Speedway Police and Fire. (Photos courtesy of the Speedway Chamber of Commerce)

Speedway Police Chief Jim Campbell (left) and Speedway Fire Chief Bob Fishburn.

2016 Coffee Crawl

Speedway Police Captain Jason Dierdorff
2016 Coffee Crawl

Speedway Police Assistant Chief Chuck Upchurch (left) and Speedway Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Hartman2016 Coffee Crawl

May

Many thanks to SPD wives, Citizens Academy Alumni, and Speedway residents for so many wonderful treats and surprises during National Police Week!

2016 SPD Community Policing

The D.A.R.E. Graduation ceremony was officiated by Lt. Jim Thiele, one of the program’s instructors, along with Det. Lauren Roemke and Det. Kyle Hodges.

Lt. Thiele offered a history of the program, both nationally and in Speedway, where it has been offered for 26 years. He explains that the program is not just about teaching kids of the dangers of drugs and gangs; the majority of the time is spent talking about making good choices and the consequences of their actions. The police officers, along with the teachers and parents, getting the kids to think about those things, helps the kids be successful in life, which is the goal.

Retired Speedway High School principal and current school Board member Tom Smith also spoke, emphasizing to the students the importance of the world’s need for good people, hardworking, loyal and on time, and doing the best one can.

Opening the presentation of graduation certificates, Allison Elementary students and principal Jay Bedwell presented the Speedway Police Department with a “thank you” banner, commending them for all they do for the students and the town.

Lt. Sam Alexander, motorcycle officer and head of the Traffic Division, is featured in this IndyChannel article / video about Indy 500 safety and security as it relates to the five motorcycle officers from the Speedway Police Department, as well as public safety partners Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and Indiana State Police. Lt. Alexander explains some of the skills and duties they perform during major events. In addition, the motorcycle officers being more approachable to citizens who may want to report something, especially given the constant reminders to the public that if they “see something, say something.” Lt. Alexander explains, “A police officer standing here next to his motorcycle, people want to come up and easily talk to you where they don’t feel as comfortable with an officer sitting in his car.” 

Speedway Community Policing

CA Alumni are doing a lot of great work to support the department and bridge the gap by building positive community-police relationships. VIP Dana Taylor also has taken the next step and joined the Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program. She and other Tier 2 VIPs assist SPD with event traffic and security at various town events, including the Mini Marathon, Angie’s List Grand Prix, Festival on Main, Racing Through the Decades Pub Crawl, and race day. Thanks to all for your dedication and service to Speedway!

Speedway PD Citizens Academy Alumni at the Festival on Main (L to R) – State Rep. Karlee Macer, VIP Dana Taylor, and Marilyn Conner.

SPD VIP-18

Lt. Sam Alexander (center) along with Officers Jacob McAtee (left) and Jereme Howery (right) of SPD Motorcycle Division pose for a photo along Main Street with a replica Borg Warner trophy.

2016 SPD Community Policing

June

The Speedway Police Department, Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni/VIPs, and Marion County Prosecutor’s Office formed “Team Dragnet – Just the Facts, Ma’am,” for the Speedway Relay for Life events. Our team raised funds for the fight against cancer by selling donuts, cookies, walking tacos & of course, running the Jail & Bail.

Thanks to Relay For Life of Speedway for honoring us with Most Team Spirit and Best Costume Awards to Speedway Officers Keegan Rupenthal and Nathan Shipley! We had a great time and we’re glad how much fun everyone has with the Jail & Bail! We were VERY busy and look forward to more fun next year!

2016 Relay for Life of Speedway

Indiana State Rep. and Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni Karlee Macer hosted an Active Shooter Presentation with Speedway PD and Indiana State Police at Speedway High School. Speedway VIP Dana Taylor attended the presentation Thursday: “I just attended the wonderful, and very informative presentation from the State Representative Karlee Macer & the State Police on how to be prepared in case of an active shooter situation. Whether at home, school, work, Church, movies or restaurant, always have a plan, be ready. Go over your plan with family members, coworkers, and friends. Always know your surroundings and know all exits to any building you’re in. Even without a gun or knife, know you always have a weapon. Fingers to poke them in the eyes, so they can’t see, or go for their throat, so they can’t breathe. You also usually have a fire extinguisher in most places to use. Spray their eyes or crack them in the head. Don’t run if you’re not sure where the shooter is. Go in a secure room & lock the door. Once you are safe, call 911 immediately.”

Speedway Police held another Neighborhood Watch Meeting on June 23. The format was an open question and answer session held with Sgt. Mirantha Wilson and Officer Mat Turpin. Residents were very engaged, asking a variety of great questions.

Speedway Police Officers visited St. Christopher’s School students during vacation bible school. Here, Officer Nathan Shipley shows children his police car.

2016 SPD Community Policing

Below, dayshift officers pose with Summer Santa at the last day of vacation bible school at St. Christopher church. Left to Right: Officers Mike Marsteller, Pat Hammel, Keegan Rupenthal, Nathan Shipley, and Sgt. Rod Ferguson.

2016 SPD Community Policing

Join us next week for Part 3 of our Speedway Community-Police Partnerships: 2016 Year in Review.

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