programming we did with IMPD back in May for local high school students

Tragedy.  Again.

IMPD Officer Perry Renn was killed in the line of duty on Saturday, another heartbreaking black mark on our beloved Indianapolis.  We never had the privilege of meeting Officer Renn, but given his passion for bicycles and his membership and involvement with the Central Indiana Bicycle Association, we know we would have comfortable talking with him about his job or sharing with him what we do for youth across Central Indiana.

It’s been a rough year already for Indianapolis and the issues with violence seem to be worsening without a turn around in sight.  IMPD is full of good people, has a great leader with Chief Hite, and is working with the resources available to them to make a change for the better.  This issue is community based, there isn’t one solution and we certainly need to find ways to collaborate collectively between non-profits, local businesses, IMPD and other governmental resources and reevaluate what programs are already in place and what programs can be developed and put into place to make a positive impact in Indianapolis.

Last summer, we developed a grant proposal jointly with Chief Hite and IMPD that was designed to help create a new community policing initiative in the schools hosting Kids Riding Bikes.  It was a plan we strongly believed could make an impact on thousands of youth across Indianapolis, a concept that combined community policing efforts by putting an officer into a coaching role at Nine13sports and also worked with IMPD to better understand the juvenile crime data in the areas immediately surrounding the schools we were serving.  It was different, it was unique and it was something we believed could be part of the broader solution over the next few years.

Unfortunately, due to several issues outside of our control, we didn’t receive the grant and the plan was shelved.  This morning, we have dusted it off and are making modifications to it to better suit the current needs and possibilities.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll be reaching out to Chief Hite and the leaders of the City of Indianapolis to seek their continued support of the concept and work with them to find funding for a slightly scaled down model.

But we’re only part of the solution, we are going to be reaching out to other non-profits that serve the community and are engaged in new initiatives and ideas to see how we can pair with them and jointly offer services.

As we mourn the death of a Hero, as we process the issues that face this great city, let’s find a way to be proactive and create something good out of this awfulness.  If our community doesn’t find a way to turn this around, the repercussions are far-reaching and incredibly damaging to all the positive impacts our city has made.  Let’s cut out the politics and find new ways to engage community services to help combat the direction this city has turned.

We can do it, but we need to work together.