By Mike Fletcher
Tribune staff writer
Getting acquainted with patrolling areas like Indian Heights is no easy task.
That duty has fallen on the shoulders of the Kokomo Police Department, after the city annexed several areas including Indian Heights, Ivy Hills, Timber Valley, Stoney Creek, Terrace Meadows and Orleans Southwest earlier this year.
The number of winding streets around the neighborhoods can be tricky for those officers who are not accustomed to those areas. So when city police officers took over the area last week, it took a little while to get accustomed to the new territory.
“We specifically assigned officers to the new districts ahead of time to get acclimated with the people and the new streets,” said Sgt. Tom Mygrant, day shift supervisor.
“We haven’t had any problems yet and not too many calls for service so far.”
As for the Indian Heights area, Mygrant said there are several officers assigned to the area. With the patrol cars equipped with Think Map, an Internet mapping system, officers haven’t had any problems navigating the winding and sometimes confusing layout of the neighborhood, he said.
Calls for service in those areas from 911 and from the non-emergency number, 765-459-5101, are now being handled by the Kokomo Police Department.
In addition, some services including copies of incident reports, accident reports, mo-ped and bicycle licenses, and criminal history background checks are provided at the Kokomo Police Department substation, located at Kokomo Fire Station No. 2, 508 E. Center Road.
“This substation was created to ensure those in the annexed area are receiving the same services as other Kokomo citizens,” said Police Chief Rob Baker.
“It’s going pretty smooth so far,” Baker said of the added districts.
The department has 106 officers and more may be added as some officers ready for retirement, he said.
The substation at Center Road will be manned Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. A direct line to police dispatch is available 24 hours a day in the lobby.
“The police department has been planning for months and has worked with Howard County Sheriff Department dispatch services to make this transition go as smooth as possible,” Police Maj. Brian Seldon said.
“We look forward to serving these areas and providing the best police services as possible.”
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight is pleased with how the coverage plan came together.
“The department did a great job getting the plan in place,” Goodnight said. “We will provide the same solid police coverage to these new citizens that current citizens are used to. The use of a substation will provide another location for citizens to get the help they need as well.”
The switch from sheriff deputies to city police will also benefit people living in the outlying areas of the county, said Sheriff Steve Rogers.
“Initially our calls for service will be down, which is a good thing for us and the people living in places like Plevna,” Rogers said. “Places like Plevna and fair-reaching areas will see more patrol cars.
“It’s not like we won’t have anything to do,” he continued. “We still have civil process, serving warrants and sex offender registry checks as well as patrols. The county didn’t get any smaller. We still have 26 miles, the length of the county, to patrol, and 11 miles to the north and south,” he continued. “Hopefully, we’ll have a higher police presence.”