This month saw the Volunteers in Policing program continue to expand, with the recruitment of a second Tier 1 Class. Lt. Sam Alexander, the VIP Program Supervisor, teaches the class.
Our area experienced a nice warmup for two February weekends, allowing for Officer Alex Redding (bicycle) and Officer Keegan Rupenthal (motorcycle) to enjoy patrolling on Main Street.
Friday, February 19th marked the start of the countdown of 100 days to the 100th running of the Indy 500. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Secretary of State Connie Lawson declared Friday the “100th Running of Indianapolis 500 Countdown Day.” Special bottles of milk signed by IndyCar drivers were distributed throughout the city.
Below, Senior Director of IMS Facility Management and Planning Dave Shaw presents SPD Chief Jim Campbell with one of the milk bottles.
Congratulations were in order for two Speedway Police Officers, Mat Turpin and Robert Fekkes, both celebrating ten years with the Speedway Police Department!
Below:Officer / K9 handler Mat Turpin at left with Chief Jim Campbell.
Below:Officer Robert Fekkes at left with Chief Jim Campbell.
SPD Officers Keegan Rupenthal (left) and Nathan Shipley (right) join Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni / VIP Becky, Elizabeth, and Monica at the Speedway Lions Club Pancake Breakfast. Attending events like this is one way the SPCAAA reaches out to the community to promote awareness of the department’s various community policing programs and foster positive community-police relationships.
Later in the month, we had an excellent turnout for the Speedway Police Department for our next Neighborhood Watch meeting. Sgt. Mirantha Wilson introduced Joe Kramer and John Merritt of the Code Enforcement Division of the Speedway Police Department. Officer Kramer explained to the residents of several concepts and duties of the Code Enforcement Division, while Officer Merritt discussed building permits and related codes. SPD and Citizens Academy Alumni will participate in the Speedway Relay for Life event this June as “Team Dragnet: Just the Facts, Ma’am”.
SPD Officers Joe Harmon & Jereme Howery attend the funeral of Howard County Deputy Sheriff Carl Koontz, shot in the line of duty during service of an arrest warrant.
Through the use of social media, the Speedway community assists SPD make a quick arrest of a suspect in the theft from former IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher’s Main Street business, Speedway Indoor Karting.
Below, Officer Joe Harmon visits with kids at Coppertree Apartments on a warm March evening.
Join us next week for Part 2 of our Speedway Community-Police Partnerships: 2016 Year in Review.
On November 16, 2016, the Speedway Police Department held a graduation ceremony for its 7th Citizens Academy class, and the 2nd class of its Tier 2 Volunteers in Policing (VIP) program.
Both programs are part of the Speedway Police Department’s ongoing community policing efforts, in which the department encourages Speedway residents and business owners to learn more about their operations and the challenges faced by officers as they do their jobs. That increased knowledge helps residents to better understand situations officers encounter, how they handle them, as well as the tools and resources available, which in turn, helps improve community-police relationships.
The graduation ceremony opened with the Presentation of Colors by the Speedway Police Department Honor Guard and National Anthem played on the trumpet by Speedway High School student Zach Merrill.
Speedway Police Department Chaplain Holly Hardsaw gave the invocation.
Lt. Trent Theobald, Police Coordinator of the Citizens Academy offered his opening remarks, thanking the students for their interest in the program and welcoming them to the Speedway Police Department family. He stressed that this experience was only the beginning, not the end – as the department offers many ways for them to volunteer to serve the department and the community.
Speedway Police Chief Jim Campbell gave his address to the students, reinforcing the concept of the community and police working together. The Citizens Academy program is an excellent way to build that partnership – it is the foundation for a continuing relationship between graduates and the department as they can continue on to the Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni Association and Volunteers in Policing programs, which work to serve the residents of Speedway.
The Citizens Academy graduates were recognized and presented with their certificates by Program Coordinator Sarah Edie and Chief Campbell.
Next, Reserve Lt. Joe Killion, the Program Coordinator for the Volunteers in Policing program, gave his remarks regarding the Tier 2 program, noting that the Tier 2 graduates are examples of a continued level of volunteer service that Citizens Academy students can pursue. He thanked the graduates for their commitment and sacrifice as well their families for supporting them in their community service.
The seven Tier 2 graduates will join seven Tier 2 VIPs who graduated in last year’s inaugural class. Tier 2 VIPs provide necessary staffing to the department by assisting with security, traffic direction and control at various community events, park monitoring and patrol, and other duties as needed.
Lt. Sam Alexander, VIP Program Supervisor, joined Lt. Killion for the recognition and presentation of certificates for the Tier 2 graduates by Chief Jim Campbell. Also on stage to congratulate the students were Assistant Chief Charles Upchurch and Captain Jason Dierdorff.
Closing remarks and benediction were given by Lt. Theobald and Chaplain Hardsaw, respectively and a reception followed in the cafeteria.
We would like to congratulate and welcome all of the students of the 7th Speedway Police Citizens Academy and Tier 2 of the Volunteers in Policing program! The Speedway Police Department and the residents of Speedway continue to build upon positive relationships and we encourage every resident and business owner to consider joining a future class. See www.SpeedwayCommunityPolicing.com/speedway-police-citizens-academy/ for details on how you can apply for next year’s class.
Above: The 7th Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class
Above: The 2nd Tier 2 Volunteers in Policing Class
Slideshow of All Photos
Note: if you are on a Mac or iOS device and don’t see the slideshow below, click here to view
August 31, 2016: Class 1 – History Of Policing / History of Speedway Police Department
Submitted by Diana Miller
Students of the 7th Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy attended their first class on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. We share our thanks to Lt. Trent Theobald, Sarah Edie, Chief Jim Campbell, and Assistant Chief Upchurch for taking their time to attend and share information regarding their positions.
SPD Chief Jim Campbell Welcomes the 7th Citizens Academy Class
We learned about the history of policing going back to the Roman empire as well as the history of the Town of Speedway beginning in 1926 with 500 residents. We were proud to hear of our Speedway Police Department receiving CALEA Accreditation, of which only 11% of police departments in the United States are approved. What an honor for our SPD! We also learned how updated technology has enabled our officers in their daily duties, that a citizen’s arrest is legal only for a felon, not a misdemeanor, and how important it is that the residents of Speedway work with our officers for community policing each and every day.
SPD Assistant Chief Chuck Upchurch
We are looking forward to our future classes with their wide range of topics from gangs and drugs to SWAT and K9 in order for us to graduate this class and become VIPs (Volunteers in Policing). Again, we thank Chief Campbell for initiating these programs.
September 7, 2016: Class 2 – Gangs / Narcotics
Submitted by Diana Miller
Lt. Theobald once again opened last evening’s class with entertaining stories as he distributed the syllabus and ride-along sign up sheet. The class enthusiastically responded to the upcoming classes and opportunity to ride with an SPD officer.
Commissioner Phill Smith was in attendance, and provided a brief synopsis of his career and current position, including some interesting facts throughout the different positions he held.
Detective Chris Ristuccia kept the attention of the class for 2-1/2 hours with his informative presentations regarding gang and drug awareness in Speedway. We are proud to say that Speedway does not have any gangs established due to the hard work and sacrifice of our officers.
Det. Ristuccia discussed the history of gangs, the reasons young people join them (to feel like they belong to something or someone for love and money, etc.), the types of membership and stages of gang membership and activity, ranging from low level misdemeanors to violent crimes. We learned the names of different gangs, their colors, and the meaning of their signs/graffiti. The class was amazed at the overwhelming number of gangs & members in Indianapolis – 398 active gangs with over 2700 members.
Det. Ristuccia also presented, in detail, the horrific problem heroin is currently causing. We learned heroin is now being distributed at college parties in the form of a pill (light blue) without the kids knowing it’s heroin, causing them to become addicted, ruining their lives, along with their families lives, searching for that “high” feeling that never is achieved. It’s a desperate time calling for desperate measures to curtail this activity. Heroin is “everybody’s” drug – there is no status, all the way from the homeless to high-level professionals.
Det. Ristuccia also shared the steps which occur during a narcotics investigation and our officers’ concern in persuading kids to make better life choices. We also learned about other numerous types of drugs and the harm they do, from marijuana and inhalers to meth and cocaine. There currently are 22.5 MILLION drug users from the age of 12 and older. It’s astounding to hear these statics, but we are so proud of our Speedway Police Department working diligently each and every day to keep our city free from gangs and heavy drug use.
The class is grateful to Detective Ristuccia for his time in presenting these topics to us.
STAY TUNED: The next two classes will be on EVO – Emergency Vehicle Operations; students will have class time learning about various aspects of operating a police vehicle and traffic stops, then will take that knowledge out to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy where they will drive a police car on a road course and conduct mock traffic stops.
The website Speedway Neighborhood Watch, along with its social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube (see links at right under “Connect with Us”) have all been redesigned and rebranded as “Speedway Community Policing” to reflect and highlight all of the excellent community policing programs of the Speedway Police Department, in addition to Neighborhood Watch.
Programs to foster and encourage positive community police interactions and partnerships include:
While this site (and our social media) will highlight those programs as well as safety, neighborhood watch news and info, please also be sure to continue to follow the main Speedway Police Department accounts on social media (see links here) for important updates related to traffic, race event information, street closures & repairs, etc.
Are you interested in learning about the Speedway Police Department and what it takes for officers to do their jobs? Here’s your chance to learn all about K-9, fingerprinting techniques, crime scene investigations, go on a ride along, and much more over this 12-week program!
Afterward, if you choose, there are various opportunities to get involved and volunteer for the department as well!
The 7th Speedway Police Citizens Academy Class will start on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. Applications are currently being accepted for approximately 5 remaining spots in the class on a first come, first served basis until the class is filled.
The Speedway Police Department and Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni Association (SPCAAA) will participate in this year’s Speedway Relay for Life event, to be held for 24 hours from 10AM on June 11, 2016.
The overall theme for this year’s Relay for Life event is “Relaywood” and each participating team will feature a different movie theme. SPD and SPCAAA will partner as Team Dragnet: Just the Facts, Ma’am– in homage to our chosen movie, the 1987 feature film Dragnet, starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks.
Relay for Life is a 24 hour fundraising event, which helps the American Cancer Society fight the nation’s biggest health concern, cancer. Teams can fundraise online, on site or both in a variety of ways.
As in the past, we will offer the very popular Jail & Bail!
We hope you’ll come out to Relay and enjoy something from all of the participating Relay teams, who will offer a variety of items ranging from crafts to food.
On Saturday, February 13, 2016, the Speedway Lions Club hosted the annual State of the Town Address, held in the Media Center at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In addition to summaries of the various Town of Speedway departments, including Parks, Streets, Infrastucture, Schools, and Fire Department, Speedway Town Council President David Lindsey spoke about the effort and commitment of the Speedway Police Department to the safety of the town, highest standards of policing practices, as well as the continued strengthening of partnership with residents.
I personally believe that the key to the quality of life begins by keeping our residents safe. Our emergency services have consistently risen to the challenge of protecting our residents, businesses, and investments in our community.
Our police department was recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies as an accredited police department. This recognition places our police department among the select police departments in the United States that have best police practices. Of the over 17,000 police departments in the United States, only 581 are CALEA accredited and our police department is one of those departments.
We see other instances around the country where there is strife between the community and police; but in Speedway, our police department is part of our community, and as a group professionals charged with a challenging and often dangerous job, they have willingly accepted the challenge to adopt the highest standards of law enforcement.
Speaking of engaging citizens and police, the department’s Volunteers in Policing services has done just that. The V.I.P. program utilizes graduates of our outstanding Citizens Academy to assist in special public safety assignments including special event security and traffic control. Would all of the graduates, instructors, and volunteers of our Citizens Academy please stand and be recognized at this time. Thank you.
In 2015, this partnership between the community and our police department extended to our high school as well. The outstanding leadership in Speedway schools and the Speedway Police Department created the first Student Academy to foster strong relationships between the next generation of leaders in our community and our leaders in law enforcement.
We accomplished all of this while serving as the lead law enforcement agency for three international sporting events and 62 special events in the community. Make no mistake, our emergency service professionals face challenges each day. To assist in the challenging environment that they must operate in, we have invested in the infrastructure that allows our team to stay informed. We have improved cameras at intersections and in our parks, adopted a policy that will allow the police department to replace the oldest squad cars in the fleet and we’ve partnered with other agencies to utilize data and mapping technology to be more proactive. We believe that by fostering strong partnerships in the community and taking decisive action to deter and arrest criminals, we will continue to protect the investments that we have made in this community.
Our Code Enforcement Division took on the challenge of developing recommended updates to the Town’s Municipal Code. This is no small task when you consider that the code in some instances was nearly 90 years old. These policy changes added a much needed review of the necessity of many of these antiquated laws while also recommending policies that make our neighborhoods stronger and safer. I greatly appreciate Joe Kramer’s efforts to help us not only enforce the Municipal Code, but also to find ways to strengthen it. Thank you Joe.
Click here to watch the entire video of the Speedway Town of the Town Address (the portion the address related to public safety starts at 45:46):
In addition, the 2015 Year in Review video is shown at the end of the State of the Town Address or you can view it separately below. The video contains clips of so many of the great events, construction, and development in Speedway. Among them is our 2015 National Night Out event, as well as the graduation for the latest Citizens Academy Class!
ICYMI: As another year comes to a close, we’d like to present a recap of some of the community policing initiatives from the Speedway Police Department.
To show their continued support and thanks to the Speedway Police Dept. in conjunction with Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, the Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni Association presented SPD personnel with restaurant gift cards, which were donated by alumni.
Speedway Neighborhood Watch held a meeting where Speedway Police Chief Jim Campbell and Assistant Chief Chuck Upchurch gave a presentation on crime statistics that were recently published on an online real estate brokerage site/blog.
The observation and quick reporting by a Speedway resident (and SPD Citizens Academy Alumni) to the Speedway Police Department last night led to the arrest of the suspect regarding a drug deal near Pam’s Pitstop Pizza. This is an excellent example of how Speedway residents can partner with the Speedway Police Department, report suspicious activity, and can effect real change in our town and help us stay safe.
The Speedway Police Department was awarded accreditation at the CALEA conference in Reno, Nevada. Sgt. James Thiele and Administrative Coordinator Sarah Edie were responsible for coordinating the effort. CALEA accreditation signifies the department is using best practices and operating with the gold standard of professional police excellence.
In addition, SPD launched another community policing program, Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.), with 14 alumni from the Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni joining at Tier 1. The V.I.P. program will be based upon a tiered system. Each tier will be representative of a specific set of duties and responsibilities that will be commensurate with training each volunteer receives from the Speedway Police Department. Each tier is progressively more intensive, and requires additional training the further the volunteer progresses in the program. Several of the Tier 1 VIPs expressed interest in continuing to Tier 2, with training to take place later this summer.
Detective Kyle Hodges and Lauren Roemke participated in “Read Across America” today at Allison Elementary. The two were part of a group of Speedway PD employees that read books at local schools. The two dressed as Thing 1 and Thing 2 from Dr. Seuss.
Shannon Turpin, wife of SPD Officer Mat Turpin (K9 Unit) and some of the wives of other SPD Officers, along with Citizens Academy Alumni and Speedway residents, showed their support for SPD during National Police Week by providing a bar containing various types of fruits, candy, snacks, granola bars, bottled water, juice, etc.; thank you cards; desserts; donuts/bagels and juice; gift card giveaway.
RTV6’s video features the Speedway Police Dept.’s Student Academy, which joins the Speedway Police Citizens Academy and Speedway Neighborhood Watch, two other community policing programs started by SPD to build positive community-police relationships. CBS 4 also featured the Student Academy.
For more information on the Speedway Police Citizens Academy class, click here.
On Saturday, June 6, the Speedway Police Dept, Citizens Academy Alumni and Neighborhood Watch volunteers were at Leonard Park for Relay for Life running a Jail & Bail…Officer Pat Hammel is on hand to arrest!
Speedway Police escorts Jeff Gordon from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to Pittsboro for a parade in his honor.
Nine Tier 1 Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.s) begin 35-40 hours of training to move forward into Tier 2, which training will commence in August.
The first class of nine Tier 2 Volunteers in Policing graduated on Thursday, August 6, 2015, with a ceremony at Speedway Town Hall. Police Chief Jim Campbell spoke about the importance of the department’s community policing programs, including Neighborhood Watch, the Citizens Academy, and the newest program, Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.). These programs strengthen the community through building positive relationships between residents and police, working together to solve community concerns and problems. Chief Campbell expressed his and the department’s appreciation to the volunteers (and their families) for their time and dedication to the department and the Town of Speedway.
The 6th Speedway Police Citizens Academy class began on September 2nd and we couldn’t be more pleased with the tremendous response from residents! The class was filled a couple of months ago, and there is a waiting list whose applications will be considered for the 2016 class. We hope that the momentum of interest in the class will continue to build over the years, and that graduates will join our Citizens Academy Alumni and become active in supporting and assisting the department. Over the 12-week class, student Pauletta Dusterberg wrote about her experience with the SPCA, which we published here and was featured in the Speedway Town Press. For more info on SPCA or to apply, click here.
Congratulations to Officer Mark Jones who is celebrating his 30th year with the Speedway Police Department in 2015.
The Speedway Police Department, Citizens Academy Alumni, and Neighborhood Watch held National Night Out on the alternate date of October 6th. We had great weather and an even better turnout of residents who enjoyed food, bounce houses, face painter, music, prizes – and most of all, building community-police relationships!
State Representative Karlee Macer and Officer Keegan Rupenthal stopped by to meet volunteers working on the home at 20th and Allison today. The home is being built for an Army veteran. It is being built by the Pit Crew and is sponsored by Jonathan Byrds and partners with the Fuller Center for Housing and the Speedway Community Development Corporation.
Macer was doing her ride along as part of the 2015 Speedway Police Department Citizens Academy.
Speedway officers recently completed an IPMBA certified police mountain biking school hosted by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. During the school they got to meet Butler Blue III on the floor of Hinkle Fieldhouse. Pictured below are Officers Alex Redding, Robert Fekkes, Joe Harmon and Jacob McAtee. Officer Fekkes is a certified instructor and assisted with class instruction. The other three officers became certified during the school and will be utilized for cycling patrols throughout the year.
The Speedway Police Department and Citizens Academy Alumni / Volunteers in Policing participated in the Speedway Chamber of Commerce event, Trunk or Treat, handing out candy to Speedway children! It’s a great event that keeps increasing in popularity and we are happy to participate!
Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.s) assist the Speedway Police Department with the semi-annual Shred-it Day event, which helps raise money for CrimeStopppers of Central Indiana.
Congratulations to Officers Keegan Rupenthal and Jacob McAtee who have been selected to join the Motorcycle Unit!
Tatin Carroll, 6, had his wish to be a super hero granted by the Make a Wish foundation and Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health Friday, November 20, 2015. His wish was to be a Super Hero and he was turned into Turbo Tatin. He visited the Indianapolis Colts, The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Riley Hospital for Children where he captured a toy thief.
Speedway Police Lt. Sam Alexander and Officer Jereme Howery escorting Turbo Tatin to Riley Hospital to save the city!
Officer Howery assists Turbo Tatin in bringing the Terrible Toymentor to justice!
Speedway Police (Chief Jim Campbell, Asst. Chief Upchurch, Capt. Jason Dierdorff, Sgt. Mirantha Wilson, Officer Mat Turpin, Officer James Bell, Officer Mark Jones, Officer Joe Harmon, Det. Lauren Roemke, and Officer Jacob McAtee) at a meet & greet with the students of the Pride Academy.
Congratulations to the 6th Speedway Police Citizens Academy class! Over the past 11 weeks, they had a chance to learn more about how police really do their jobs, the tools and procedures they use, the decisions they make and the people they deal with daily. Graduates now have the opportunity, if they choose, to volunteer with SPD in a variety of ways. We’re glad to have them join us!
Congratulations to Sgt. Robert Dine on successfully completing the IMPD Leadership Academy and graduating on November 20th!
Volunteers with the Speedway Citizens Academy Alumni and Volunteers in Policing assisted with Light the Night on Main. V.I.P.s provided assistance with traffic direction/control, while CA alumni provided information to attendees on SPD’s community policing programs.
Since graduating in August, Volunteers in Policing VIPs have assisted the Speedway Police Department with valuable staffing at many town events, including the Indiana State Criterium, Hops & Flip Flops 5K, Indy Jazz fest, Lions Club Halloween event, Shred-it Day, Speedway Spectacular Parade, and Speedway Zombie Fun Run. The Town of Speedway will continue to benefit from these dedicated volunteers!
Speedway Police escort Santa Claus, driven by IndyCar’s Ed Carpenter, to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.
Officer Howery and Lamariante Poole at shop with a cop Sponsored by FOP Lodge 86.
As the nation’s law enforcement continues to face challenges, the Speedway Police Department continues to maintain the positive growth and forward momentum of its community policing programs. 2015 saw unprecedented interest in the Speedway Police Citizens Academy program, and the successful launch of two new programs, the Student Academy and Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.).
With so many residents partnering with the Speedway Police Department, we’re anticipating an even better 2016!
By Pauletta Dusterberg, Student in the 6th Speedway Police Citizens Academy
Wow, can’t believe this is my last blog on the Speedway Police Citizens Academy. This was our last class, but not the end of my adventure. My adventure is just beginning, I have become part of the Speedway Police Citizens Academy Alumni and hoping that I will be accepted in the V.I.P. Program (Volunteers in Policing). If you haven’t gotten excited to be part of the Citizens Academy, then you haven’t read my blog close enough. Please check them out here: Speedway Police Citizens Academy and Speedway Volunteers in Policing (V.I.P.)
This week’s class was Chaplains and the Marion County Prosecutors Office. Chaplain Rick Kassel presented a slide show and talk about the Chaplain Division. Speedway is lucky to have 5 Chaplains to call upon. Chaplains are not there to preach or convert, they are there to offer assistance and spiritual guidance in times of need. They are called to assist at many calls that involve death or serious injury, to be there to comfort and assist family members, officers and victims. The Chaplains are there not only for the public but for the officers and their families, they are part of the Police family, and are there for them for any guidance they may need. They also represent the SPD at community events as requested. They are on call 24/7, 365 days a year.
Many thanks to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for the discussion on the Community Prosecution Division. It was very interesting to learn about the Marion County Criminal Court system and criminal case process. We learned about the collaboration between the Marion County Prosecutor’s office, criminal justice partners and the community to create safer neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. There is a prosecutor located in each police district, who along with their regular duties with the court, also attend meetings and develop partnerships with neighborhood associations, businesses, and agencies. They promote and conduct crime prevention programs and initiatives. I learned that there are several crime prevention and education programs, such as Project Cybersafe -Educating students about cyberbullying, online threats and making them responsible with social networking and the legal consequences; EKG – Educating Kids about Gun Violence, Crime and Fraud Prevention. We were given some very detailed information on the process that goes on before a case goes to court or jury trial. We learned about the different types of probation and programs available in lieu of a jail sentence. There is a lot of time and research that goes into being a prosecutor and I have a lot of respect for the office and what they must go through to make sure everyone gets fair treatment.
ON TO GRADUATION! Congratulations to the 2015 class of the Speedway Police Citizens Academy!