Fishers Police Dept. Chief Ed Gebhart gave a department update during an Oct. 23 community meeting in Fishers. He also addressed recent tire and rim thefts occurring throughout the city.
Gebhart said although FPD caught one group of individuals stealing tires and rims from cars, the recent thefts are being committed by a new group.
“If it sells, then they do it and these tires and rims are selling,” he said. “Theft from vehicles is very high on my priority list. These tire thefts are really irritable. We have a collective group coming into neighborhoods, taking tires and rims off cars and putting the cars on paver stones.”
Gebhart said he has three priorities — security and safety of the city, the future of the children and ensuring the department’s officers perform their jobs honorably.
Gebhart said he wants increased neighborhood patrols wants t officers driving through neighborhoods at least six times a shift.
“I really want us to provide service to 90,000-plus residents, and I want to make it feel like they live in a city of 10,000,” he said. “I want (police) cars in the neighborhoods.”
In 2012, Gebhart said during an annual FPD survey, out of 2,000 responses, 212 residents said they weren’t noticing police cars in their neighborhoods. Last year, the number was down to only 14 residents making the claim.
Per children’s safety, FPD recently added more school resource officers and participated in a multi-agency training initiative with the fire and police departments.
“Another thing we initiated to make sure kids see us is we do high-five Fridays. We high-five the kids at the elementary level,” Gebhart said. “It’s a relationship thing, but it’s a presence thing. It is an acknowledgment of safety and I love the program. I’m using as many opportunities as we can and your tax money to make sure we are sending as many resources into the school as possible.”
Gebhart, who was appointed chief in August, also acknowledged the importance of the department’s new headquarters.
“The building was really important to set the tone of the direction I want to take our agency,” Gebhart said. “It’s important because all of our resources are home in the same building now, so I can use them more effectively to protect the city from things trying to come up here or move here.”