During a Sept. 9 police/community event, the Zionsville Police Dept. touted its progress within the last year, including the creation of its REACH unit and use of force board.
.Last year, the department established its REACH Unit, designed to assist people experiencing behavioral-health, mental-health or substance-abuse crises. REACH is an acronym for “resources, evaluating, assisting in the community.” The unit works collaboratively with community partners to connect residents experiencing a crisis with mental health providers and addiction and social services.
Besides helping residents, the ZPD wants to “reduce the risk of injury for first responders and individuals in crisis, reduce and prevent crime, maximize self-sufficiency and improve quality of life” through the unit.
ZPD Sgt. Elizabeth Frost said the unit has responded to or been referred to 19 situations in which individuals were identified, and 11 in which individuals were not identified since the unit’s inception late last year.
“People are so happy to have something like this to help the community and make it better and healthier,” Frost said. “It’s been a huge success.”
For more about the unit, contact Frost at [email protected] or 317-873-5967, ext. 8023.
The department also established a use-of-force board last year. Five people serve on the board: ZPD Capt. Marius Klykken, Lt. Drake Sterling and Sgt. Josh Samuelson and Zionsville residents Kenneth Johnson and Monisha Mitchell. Board members work with the department to review activities, provide input and discuss national-level use-of-force cases and practices to ensure the ZPD is using best practices. So far, it has revised the department’s use-of-force policy and prohibition of choke holds and reviewed incidents where officers could have used force but did not.
“We review those to see, ‘Hey, how did that officer do that? What training they received, and how can we continue that type of stuff,’” Klykken said during the event.
The department has participated in several training initiatives in the last year. In October 2020, it partnered with Dr. Abbie Robisnson Armstrong to deliver implicit bias and diversity training to all department personnel. This year, it began providing leadership and supervisory training to all new personnel earning ranked positions in the department.