Updated: September 3, 2013 7:46AM
GARY — Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson asked for 60 Indiana State Police troopers to come to Gary for 90 days to help patrol the streets of the city where homicides are dramatically up over last year.
Gov. Michael Pence responded Thursday afternoon, offering instead to send a “technical assistance team” of an unspecified number “in a full-time capacity for a two- to four-week period,” the letter states.
This team of “law enforcement professionals ... will assist you in reviewing your intelligence gathering, training, command structure, budget and staffing levels,” Pence’s letter states.
At the same time Thursday afternoon, during a community brain-storming session with Office of Justice Diagnostic Center representatives, Chief Wade Ingram outlined his plan for using state troopers in their three-month stay. He said their presence on the streets could prevent crimes as troopers made traffic stops and located illegal weapons and other contraband.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said she is not disappointed in the governor’s proposal.
“I absolutely see some benefit. There is a lot of value in technical assistance,” she said. “It’s not a no.”
After making her formal appeal for help last month, the mayor submitted a detailed plan to Pence, stating what the city would do after the troopers left. Her program included short- and long-term actions, including some already operating in Gary, such as the drug court and truancy court programs. It also included seeking expert advice from the Diagnostic Center team that arrived in the city this week and is conducting interviews over a two-day period.
Bringing outside law enforcement consultants to Gary will allow everyone to study the problems and possible solutions, Freeman-Wilson said.
“Once that happens, I believe they will come to the same conclusion we did,” she added.