GREENSBUG — In 2019, the Greensburg Police Department focused working with programs around the community.
According to the department’s 2019 annual report, over the past five years the GPD has been active in Special Olympics. Currently, Chief Brendan Bridges sits on the State Special Olympics Board that coordinates all the yearly events for the Law Enforcement Torch Run.
Additionally, in 2019, GPD officers participated in the Polar Plunge, Tip-A-Cop, Run Unified Relay, and opening ceremonies for the Summer Games. The annual report states that in 2020 the GPD will be the most active it has been in the Special Olympics program.
The GPD also introduced Project Lifesaver to the community. Project Lifesaver is a community-based, public safety, non-profit organization that provides law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel, and caregivers with a program designed to protect, and when necessary, quickly locate individuals with cognitive disorders who are prone to the life-threatening behavior of wandering.
The project uses radio technology along with trained search and rescue teams.
Those enrolled in Project Lifesaver wear a small transmitter on their wrist or ankle that emits an individualized frequency signal. If they go missing, their caregiver notifies the local Project Lifesaver agency and emergency personnel then responds to the area.
Search times for certified Project Lifesaver agencies have been reduced from days and hours down to minutes, according to the GPD.
Recovery times for Project Lifesaver agencies average 30 minutes, which is 95 percent less time than standard operations.
Bridges said this program arrives at no cost to the community. It is funded through grants and donations.
The local police department has also been very active in the Autism/Intellectual Disability Program.
Officers are being trained yearly on how to respond and deal with individuals that are diagnosed with these disabilities. According to the report, each individual reacts differently when approached by public safety officers and also react in different situations. If families decide to participate in the program, they will provide information to first responders that will assist when responding to situations where communication is vital, allowing responders to handle the situation differently.
Last year, the GPD also started a new food pantry program that concentrates on youth and hunger. Every Saturday, food is delivered to families that are struggling to eat. The program will run throughout the summer to assist children while they are on break.
In 2019, the GPD also received a $1,500 grant from Central Indiana Bicycle Association for bike helmets. The GPD hosted its first annual Bicycle Rodeo in May 2019. During the event, helmets were handed out, and children were also able to cycle through a road course simulating rules of the roadway. Roadway course items were provided by Riley Children’s Hospital.
The GPD also now has two school resource officers within Greensburg Community Schools. The SROs are Lt. Jarrod McCalvin and SRO Bruce Copple.
The GPD also listed goals for 2020, which consist of hosting at least one community cookout per month, continuing to build on lowering property crime within city limits, increasing traffic patrols in areas with high numbers of accidents, continuing to work on grants for needed equipment and patrols, building the GPD website, providing more education information to citizens, continuing to bring officers into schools to have lunch with students, and starting the Summer Youth Academy.
This was the second of a two-part story. The first story focused on 2019 statistics reported by the department.