Skip to main content

Welcome, and thanks to the community members, members of the press, and city staff who are here today and watching this presentation remotely. Since 2017, I have directed our public safety leaders to present a year in review to the community we serve. We need an accurate picture of safety and quality of life in Bloomington, and not simply anecdotal, or subjective perspectives. By presenting data about crime, fire calls, investments, training, and much more that you’ll learn about this morning, we can see how well we are progressing, and identify persistent problems, in order to address them.

Our commitment to transparency and accountability is pervasive, beyond today’s important annual presentation. Throughout the year, anyone can access specific information related to public safety -- whether crime statistics, vehicle deployment, or budget information, and much more -- at our open data portal, B-clear. The 200+ data sets there are constantly updated for your information. And the resident-filled Board of Public Safety meets monthly in public session for all to hear regular detailed reports on our activities.

Among the responsibilities, we bear as City government, keeping our residents safe is job one. I salute the members of our police and fire departments for the challenging work you do so professionally every day, always bravely putting your life on the line for all of us who live, work and visit here.

We know our public safety personnel often engage with us most directly on some of the most difficult or dangerous days of our lives. But the work you do throughout the year, forging connections within the community, preventing problems before they occur, educating us about opportunities, and for your ongoing commitment to justice, equity, and inclusion, does so much to keep the number of those worst days to a minimum.  

 

Police:

Starting with the police, I want to commend you on an overall reduced incidence of crime of nearly 5%, even as our population increases, and continuing a three-year pattern of overall reductions. But it also has been a tough year, and as Chief Diekhof will explain, we have serious concerns about gun activities, and certain types of crime that are increasing and of real concern.

  • 2019 saw a sharp rise in gun violence and aggravated assaults. It is important to note that 50% of aggravated assaults result from interpersonal/domestic situations, and 80% of violent crime victims know their assailants. As Chief Diekhoff will elaborate, the rise may also correlate with an increase in survivors’ willingness to report -- which is the silver lining here. The BPD will be embarking, with social service and advocacy groups, on an educational campaign for those populations whose situations risk devolving into violence of this nature.
  • There was a rise in opioid-related events by 13% -- Chief Diekhoff will help us understand that figure, which does not necessarily correlate with an increase in opioid deaths. Although this national crisis may be plateauing, the devastation/associated effects continue.   
  • Due to the challenges, the situation at the Farmers’ Market has presented, BPD has played a key role in stepping up security there.  We know this has created extra stress on the officers, long hours, and a strained budget. 

 

Some improvements/ways of addressing:

I’m pleased as you’ll learn about an increased emphasis on new funding and programs to support and serve residents so that situations do not escalate, and to expand the department’s engagement, connections, and trust with the public:  

  • Crisis Diversion Center, 
  • new social worker (who had almost 700 interactions with clients in 2019), 
  • neighborhood resource specialists
  • Switchyard office 

You’ll hear as well about Technology upgrades, including NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting System), Bodycam upgrades, and more. And you’ll hear about the extensive commitment to continuing training (nearly 4x what State requires)--among all our staff, including on de-escalation, anti-bias training, female leadership, mental health first aid, and more.

 

Safe and Civil City:

The Safety, Civility, and Justice Initiative is also an important part of our approach to fostering safety, quality of life, equity, inclusion, a welcoming environment in Bloomington.

Community and Family Resources Department (CFRD) Director Beverly Calender-Anderson will share with you how this initiative, born in August 2016, has implemented recommendations of forging connections in the community, leveraging partnerships with area agencies to provide opportunities, services, and resources, and increasing education about mental health. Public bathrooms are planned as part of two new parking garages.

The addition of the After Hours Ambassador has been a significant step in promoting the recommendations of the SCJ initiative.  This new City employee has been an important liaison with the individuals, businesses, and groups that intersect in our downtown, and with IU.  Having a staff person giving undivided attention to these relationships and this busy zone is a big step toward a safer and more harmonious environment downtown.

We’re looking forward to furthering measures to increase safety and civility in Bloomington including Crisis Diversion Center, Helping Bloomington Monroe, and more.

 

Fire:  

Grateful to report that there were again no fire fatalities in Bloomington in 2019; and 2 saves. (third straight year of zero fatalities). This achievement reflects the department’s education/prevention efforts, reduced times in getting to the scene, enhanced training (46,158 hours of training this year!), enhanced equipment, and connections in the community.

Our ISO rating of 2/2x places us in 

  • Top 2% of rated departments in the US
  • Top 1% of rated departments in Indiana
  • Best rated department in Monroe County

Thanks to PSLIT, and partnership with IU, we are able to acquire the apparatus and gear necessary for this growing community. We pushed in a new 100-foot aerial apparatus in May, will welcome another ladder truck this month, purchased a second round of personal protective equipment. 

The Fire Department is one of our more innovative departments. They have showcased resourcefulness and ingenuity in several ways, including 

  • coming up with a low-cost model for drying fire suits 
  • negotiating a contract to get each firefighter equipped with masks that allow for visibility in smoke-filled conditions. In the past, the department only had one or two masks. The new contract has secured these masks for each firefighter and will qualify for an update when technology upgrades.  

Thank you for joining us today to hear about the good works being done by our public safety teams. I’ll now welcome Chief Mike Diekhoff, from the Bloomington Police Department.


 

Speeches