Opinion: Carmel police worthy of respect

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Commentary By Jim Brainard

A week ago, we gathered at the gazebo at City Hall for the 33rd annual Hamilton County Law Enforcement Memorial Service, a solemn gathering held each spring to honor fallen police officers who gave their lives in the line of duty.

It’s been 114 years since a Carmel police officer has been killed in the line of duty, an outstanding record of safety I pray will continue over the next 100 years. But it was only 21 years ago that we lost one of our Indiana State Troopers assigned to Hamilton County. In all, there have been five fallen heroes, each of whom was honored at this beautiful ceremony.

As I listened to the speakers at this event, I was once again reminded that words such as “honor,” “respect” and “duty” are not just words to these brave men and women who keep us safe. They are vows taken and worn like the badges on their uniform.

All too often, it seems, we speed through life without taking the time to appreciate the gift of our local civil servants – specifically the Carmel Police Department – which not only lives up to those badges of honor, but does with an incredible sense of professionalism befitting a community like Carmel.

What do you need to know about your local police department?

They are professionals. Under Police Chief Tim Green, this group of 113 sworn and 24 civilian support staff continues to meet specific standards of excellence that have earned them international accreditation (one of only 500 agencies in the U.S. and Canada to earn such distinction). It takes a great deal of hard work to meet the guidelines necessary to maintain this accreditation.

Key to this accreditation is that whenever you encounter one of our finest – whether that be at a community event or, unfortunately, after you’re clocked doing 30 in a 20 – you will be treated with respect and professionalism, whether you get a ticket or just a warning. As Mayor, I trust that every encounter you have with our police department is marked by such respect.

They work well with others. Our police officers have a strong working relationship with other police agencies in the area. And they have a special relationship with the Carmel Fire Department, assisting side-by-side with daily calls for service, as well as the major events like what we saw during the major winter storms just a few months ago. During these major events, the Carmel Police Department establishes the Carmel Emergency Operations Center to oversee and manage a coordinated effort to assist others.

They are connected to the community in a variety of unique ways. Whether it’s the Citizens Police Academy, the Business Watch program or the popular Neighborhood Crime Watch, our officers know that the first line of defense in keeping our streets safe are those in the community who keep an eye out for their friends and neighbors, alert to the prospect of unusual behavior and ready to call 911 if necessary.

Another key to keeping our community safe is the quick response to such calls. The Carmel Police Department prides itself on taking all matters – even those some may think are insignificant – very seriously. They will respond to your call. They will follow up. They will investigate crimes, anticipate potential future crimes and, because of that, they will solve crimes and make arrests.

The hard work is paying off. Recently, a California-based real estate blog known as Movoto Blog surveyed 120 suburbs across America – digging into crime statistics tracked by the FBI – and found that Carmel was the safest suburb in the United States. That’s a testament to the professionals who wake up every morning and put on their Carmel badges in order to keep our community safe.

And it’s the kind of news that should make us all sleep a little better at night.

Jim Brainard is the Mayor of Carmel. He can be reached at jbrainard@carmel.in.gov

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