Private businesses and individuals with security cameras will be able to partner with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), allowing the agency to access the cameras to assist with investigations and improve response times.
IMPD is piloting B.Link Pro with businesses including Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana and Big Red Liquors. Those cameras are not monitored live but can be accessed in the event of a public safety threat.
The Indy Public Safety Foundation will act as a liaison between IMPD and the business community. The organization will be the main point of contact to connect potential partners with the resources they need to be part of B.Link.
"A technology program may not be the first thing you think of when we talk about community policing, but the partnerships developed through B.Link are what this model is all about — policing with the community," IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said in a statement.
B.Link Indy is for individuals and works a little differently. The agency would not be able to access any registered cameras without permission.
If there is a crime in the area, for example, law enforcement could reach out to anyone who has a registered camera and ask for permission to access footage. Registration of a camera does not give law enforcement automatic consent.
These efforts are part of a $35 million investment from the city in public safety technology. Any businesses and individuals interested in partnering with IMPD can fill out a form at blinkindy.org.
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.
A new Steward Speakers Series kicked off Oct. 29 with a panel discussion that included mostly national speakers and activists who can bring a different perspective to Indianapolis.
Adrianne Slash, one of the panelists with local ties, said in a press conference before the discussion that it's important to get some "outsiders" into Indianapolis because they can get a better response.
"When you have children being raised by parents or folks who are always around them, they can say, 'Don't touch that, don't do this, don't do that,' and they might not really react or respond," said Slash, who is president of The Exchange at The Indianapolis Urban League. "... In our community, sometimes we need folks to help us get those messages across."
George Fraser, chairman and CEO of FraserNET, said he came to Indianapolis with a simple message that won't be easy to implement: In order to close the racial wealth gap, Black people need to stop depending on white people.
"Wherever Black people are going in the 21st century, it will be because Black people will take them there," he said. "White people will not be saving Black people. I'm sorry. It's been 400 years and our Black asses ain't saved."
Fraser warned of a "second slavery" because, according to a 2017 report from Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies, Black household median wealth will fall to zero by 2053 if current trends continue. White household median wealth will climb to $137,000.
It's a bleak picture, but some argue median wealth isn't the best measure because comparing the 50th percentile doesn't account for the fact that most wealth is owned by the very wealthy, not the middle class. Closing the median wealth gap would be easier than closing the mean wealth gap, which is significantly larger.
Fraser said there is an upside to not relying on white people to be the saviors of Black Americans.
"We can fix it," he said. "We are incredible, beautiful, magnificent people, except most Black people don't know that they are. ... If I wake up in the morning and I don't like what I see in the mirror, there's no way that I can love you because you become a reflection of me."
The discussion was supposed to cover a wide range of topics, from politics to culture to religion. However, at the onset, moderator Roland Martin said the conversation will focus solely on economics.
During a press conference before the panel discussion, Lauren Simmons, who become the youngest full-time trader at the New York Stock Exchange in 2017, said it's important to understand how those different facets of life impact each other. She used education as an example.
"If you aren't great within the political system," she said, "the funding for education is going to fail, and then the supporting community around it is not gonna be upholding either."
Joseph "Rev. Run" Simmons, founding member of Run-DMC, said he wants people — especially young people — to better understand the obstacles some of their idols dealt with in their lives to get where they are.
"The best thing that I can tell anyone is, 'The fool hath said in his heart there is no God,'" Simmons said, referencing Psalm 14:1 in the Bible. "I'm gonna talk to people about how faith in God removes ego. Ego is edging God out."
Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.
D = Democrat
G = Green Party
I = Independent
L = Libertarian
R = Republican
In an effort to make sure our readers are informed when they go to the polls to vote in the Nov. 5 general election, the Recorder sent a questionnaire to candidates for city-county council and mayor.
In the interest of brevity, only races with more than one candidate were included, and only candidates who appear on the ballot were included. Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.
MAYOR OF INDIANAPOLIS
Joe Hogsett, D
Why are you running? During my time in office, I have been squarely focused on working to bring Indianapolis together as one city. I have lifted the city's 35-year moratorium on new streetlights and laid out a plan that will invest $400 million on Indy's roads, streets and sidewalks over the next four years.
I have also launched a comprehensive public safety and criminal justice reform effort, which includes overseeing a return to community-based beat policing and creating a team of Peacemakers working in high crime areas, as well as creating the first Criminal Justice Reform Task Force in Indianapolis. Working together with the city-county council, we have invested more than $300,000 in comprehensive neighborhood-based crime prevention efforts and expanded our community grant program for crime prevention, including investing nearly $4 million in programs to address the root causes of violent crime.
What issues would you like to address in office? Improving infrastructure, increasing public safety, criminal justice reform, balancing city budget, economic development and affordable housing.
What else should voters know about you? Over the last three years, we have seen incredible achievements in Indianapolis. While thousands of good jobs have come into our city, with new companies investing in Indianapolis every year, we must be focused on inclusive growth, to ensure that new opportunities benefit all of Indianapolis' residents. That's why I commissioned an independent disparity study to assess the barriers faced by minority-, woman-, veteran-and disabled-owned businesses that contract with the city, through the Office of Minority and Women Business Development.
We still have serious challenges, and there is a lot of work left to do. I am running to once again be your mayor, so that we can build on our achievements, and continue to lift up our city, as one city.
Jim Merritt, R
Why are you running? After record homicides in the last three years and not seeing a change of course from the current mayor, I decided I needed to step up. Infrastructure, public safety and pride in the city are my concerns and the concerns of most citizens. I have proven leadership qualities that have come from serving as an elected state senator for many years, which I will bring to the mayor's office.
What issues would you like to address in office? Public safety, infrastructure and pride in the city.
What else should voters know about you? I learned that far too many disparities exist among our communities, which have caused deserts to exist within the African American community that have long been ignored in housing, education, economic development and public safety. People in power either by design or by accident have neglected communities of color and I realize, even in the spirit of goodwill, that some decisions I made have adversely impacted certain populations. I am grateful for this opportunity to be mayor of Indianapolis and repair some systemic issues that have plagued our city.
Douglas McNaughton, L
Why are you running? I am running for mayor of Indianapolis for three basic reasons: I firmly believe that Indianapolis deserves to have real choices in whom they choose to run this city. I believe strongly in the old adage of teaching a man to fish, although I don't mind sharing the fish during the learning curve. I believe I can do a better job of improving the economic and social climate of this city than has been done in the past because I believe in doing what works, not simply what a political party or existing organization would have me do.
What issues would you like to address in office? Infrastructure, violent crime and homelessness.
What else should voters know about you? I am an automation engineer who travels around the world in the course of my job. I have seen many different solutions to the problems that cities have, and I have a unique and varied perspective of them. I have been wearing an artificial leg since childhood, so I know that large obstacles can be overcome with effort. I was raised in a small town, so I have seen what can be accomplished with limited resources. I work for a Japanese company and know what it takes for people of different backgrounds to work together. I am not a career politician looking for my next stop on the ladder. I truly want to make the city a better place for everyone and I am convinced I can do a better job than what we have had in the past.
MAYOR OF LAWRENCE
Jamar Cobb-Denard, D
Why are you running? I am running because I believe that the city of Lawrence can do better. Cities around us are growing, but Lawrence has seen stagnant growth for a generation.
What issues would you like to address in office? Tourism, grocery stores, connecting districts with trails and making it easy to do business.
What else should voters know about you? As a former business owner, former member of the Indianapolis Board of Public Works and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law graduate, I am qualified to take Lawrence to the next level.
Steve Collier, R☑
Why are you running? Did not respond to specific question
What issues would you like to address in office? Finishing redevelopment of Fort Harrison, infrastructure and collaborating on Cultural Campus project.
What else should voters know about you? Did not respond to specific question
Leroy Robinson, D☑
— did not respond
Richard Anderson, R
— could not find contact information
Keith Potts, D
Why are you running? I believe that Washington Township deserves a councilor who understands the value of hard work and is dedicated to lifting up every corner of the district.
What issues would you like to address in office? Infrastructure, local economy and public safety.
What else should voters know about you? When it comes to any issue, vote or decision, I will listen to as many perspectives as I can to make an informed decision with the best interests of all of District Two at heart. As a young, proud union member, and member of the LGBTQ community, I will bring a fresh voice to advocate for our entire district. I believe we need to focus on bringing evidence-based solutions to the table.
Colleen Fanning, ☑
— did not respond
Dan Boots, D
Why are you running? As a lifelong Hoosier, I have seen our city change and grow dramatically. Our unprecedented growth has brought with it new challenges and opportunities for our city to invest in economic development, public safety, infrastructure, expanded greenspaces and strong neighborhoods. This is a pivotal point in the future of our northeast Marion County community.
What issues would you like to address in office? Infrastructure, economic revitalization, education, greenspace, beautification and trash reduction.
What else should voters know about you? I'm committed to making Indianapolis a better place to live, work, play and raise our families. I have been endorsed by the Indy Chamber Business Advocacy Committee, the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors (MIBOR), Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, state Rep. Carey Hamilton, Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal, former Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, current Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears and current District 3 Councilor Christine Scales.
Dan Jones, R
Why are you running? I have over 30 years experience in local government finance. I retired two years ago from my position with the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) and my former positions with the Marion County Auditor's Office and the City of Indianapolis City Controller's Office. After retiring, I started to feel my experiences were needed to solve many of the current problems facing our city.
What issues would you like to address in office? Infrastructure and violent crime.
What else should voters know about you? I have successfully worked with the city-county council while I was with the city and the county, and I'm aware of the challenges ahead. I have also worked with the Indiana General Assembly to address other problems facing local governments across Indiana. I want to use that experience to solve many of the problems confronting Indianapolis.
Ethan Evans, D
Why are you running? I am running to provide better governance and responsiveness to the needs of all of those in our community. We have many significant issues that need attention, including racial disparities in employment and education, poverty, mental illness, creating economic growth without displacement, safety, infrastructure, schools, and food deserts.
What issues would you like to address in office? Infrastructure, public safety, wages, mental health care services and homelessness
What else should voters know about you? As a community activist for the past few years, I have stood for those without a voice. I take an active part in police and community conversations aimed at improving relations. As a proud union member of AFSCME Local 827, I stand in support of workers' rights and livable wages. I support public educators and believe more can be done to support our public school teachers and students. Additionally, I volunteer with the Kheprw Institute and Lawrence Community Gardens.
Michael McQuillen, R☑
Why are you running? I would like the opportunity to serve the men and women of city-county council District 4 for another four years. There are many issues such as public safety, infrastructure, workforce development and education that I want to help address as we move forward.
What issues would you like to address in office? Public safety, infrastructure, workforce development, education and violent crime.
What else should voters know about you? I am always available to our residents with their questions or concerns and ask for their support to represent our neighborhoods on the council for another four years.
Alison Brown, D
Why are you running? I am running because I believe in good government, building up our communities and protecting the most vulnerable, and the current councilor and those prior to him haven't done any of these things. I want to go to the city-county building to lift families up and be your voice.
What issues would you like to address in office? Affordable childcare, public safety, workforce development, mass transit and infrastructure.
What else should voters know about you? I am a mother, a community activist and a leader. As a progressive leader in Indianapolis, I have been a leading voice in building up vulnerable communities in our state. With a strong background in community development and organizing, I was the first person hired for Freedom Indiana in our groundbreaking campaign to protect LGBTQ+ rights in the Hoosier state.
Since then, I have worked with the Indiana Federation of Democratic Women, Indiana Stonewall Democrats, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, and Indiana Young Democrats, among others, to fight discrimination and help all Hoosiers.