Courtesy of United States Attorney Josh Minkler for the Southern District of Indiana
U.S. Attorney General Lynch took her Community Policing Tour to Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 13, to meet with a class of recruits and recognize the merits of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s (IMPD) Officer Wellness and Safety Program (OWSP). This award-winning program was started by IMPD Captain Brian Nanavaty and emphasizes the physical and emotional health of IMPD officers. The program’s theme is “Healthy Hire, Healthy Retire” and provides a means for officers to remain healthy from their first day as a recruit to retirement and beyond. Healthy and happy officers are more productive and help make their communities safer.
While in Indianapolis, Attorney General Lynch and I hosted a roundtable with officers and members of the local mental health community during which several officers and their families told the Attorney General how they had been helped by the OWSP. These moving stories of having prevailed over PTSD, survivor guilt and marital discord are a testament to the effectiveness of the program. Many officers credit the OWSP with saving their careers and marriages. In 2015, OWSP actually won a BJA award and has since become a national model. One officer who has benefitted from the program is Jeff Patterson, who—along with his wife— met with the Attorney General and discussed how OWSP has helped him following years of wear and tear in the homicide and sex crimes divisions.
Later in the day, Attorney General Lynch attended the IMPD East District roll call where she met with officers assigned to some of the city's most challenging neighborhoods. There is more violent crime in the East District than in any other part of the city and Indianapolis spends the majority of its Project Safe Neighborhoods grant money on projects in the east side of Indianapolis. To commemorate her visit, Chief of Police Troy Riggs presented the Attorney General with a shadow box of IMPD badges. After delivering brief remarks and taking questions from officers, Attorney General Lynch took photos with the group and signed the "Wall of Fame" to preserve the memory of her visit for years to come.