September 30, 2023

KPD sworn officials up 25% since 2020

July 8 – The Kokomo Police Department has become a popular place to work in the past three years.

At the beginning of 2020, there were 76 sworn officers employed by the department.

But after an aggressive recruiting and testing campaign, including a commercial that ran statewide inviting potential applicants to apply to the agency, officials note there will now be 95 sworn officers by the end of this month.

That is an increase of 25%.

The increase is all part of a mission statement first laid out in January 2020 by Chief Doug Stout, according to a KPD media release sent Friday morning.

At the time, officials said the priority in having an increase in officers was to “properly serve and protect our community,” according to the release.

And most of those new officers were hired through lateral transfers as well, officials note, which they say saves the department time and money in the long run.

“By transferring the lateral transfers, you immediately get more experience from an officer,” KPD Major Brian Seldon told the Tribune. “That helps us. You don’t have to wait a year for an officer to hit the streets. You don’t have to send them to the academy. It takes half the time.”

But while the KPD will soon have 95 officers, officials stated that it actually takes everyone’s help to curb crime.

“We may have 95 sworn officers at the end of July, but I want our department to be 60,000 employees,” Stout said in the release, referring to the city’s population.

“Criminals don’t want to come to cities with active community involvement,” Stout said. “The Kokomo Police Department is constantly looking for ways to better serve the community. By all working together, we can continue to make Kokomo a better place to work and live.”

Another area KPD highlighted in the release, which the department notes is a by-product of the increase in officers, is the city’s reported decrease in violent crime.

“The collected FBI crime numbers for 2022 speak volumes about the efforts of our officers and the entire community,” officials wrote in the release. “Crime in Kokomo classified as violent crime by the FBI has decreased by just over 30% since 2020.”

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, violent crime consists of four crimes: negligent murder and manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

The department adds that property crime, such as theft, has decreased by just over 20% since 2020, and officers have also been able to locate and arrest several individuals who have attempted to sell illegal drugs such as opioids throughout the community.

KPD officials cite their ongoing relationship with various community agencies, such as the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office, Howard County Probation Department, Howard County Sheriff’s Office, and Howard County Coroner’s Office, as a contributing factor to that success.

And along with the increasing number of cops on the streets, the KPD is said to have also looked into using violence incidents over the past three years, according to the release.

In 2020, KPD was involved in 150 violent situations per official.

By 2022, that number would drop to 110.

“While manpower increased by 25%, use of force incidents decreased by 26%,” officials said in the release. “This is due not only to the increase in manpower, but also to a revamped training program that focuses on improved and updated de-escalation techniques.”

Because in the end, officials note, it is about presenting a police station that the city can and may be proud of.

“This administration is committed to public safety and continues to make progress to make our community safe as promised,” Seldon said. “And if there are more officers on the street, that also increases the security of the officers. So I think we want to emphasize that to continue. It’s about continuing to build a safer city.”

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