The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 3:00 pm

Local crime decreased last year; officials embrace drones, body cameras this year

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette



Fort Wayne officials shared police and fire plans for this year during a news conference as Mayor Tom Henry reiterated today that public safety remains a top priority.

Crime decreased in 2021 from the previous year with 6% less overall crime and 36% less violent crime. Police Chief Steve Reed said Fort Wayne is lucky to not have a rise in violent crimes like many other cities have.

City officers took 850 guns off the streets – guns that were possessed by people not allowed or were stolen, Reed said.

In 2022, the department will have all uniform operations personnel – about 320 – equipped with body cameras.

The department also plans to start the Drone as First Responder program, in which drones can be sent to potentially dangerous crime scenes before officers make the first contact.

Fire Chief Eric Lahey shared progress made by firefighters as first responders in 2021 with a continued focus on training.

Almost half of the department’s 27,000 calls in 2021 were associated with emergency medical response, Lahey said. Firefighters completed 110,000 hours of training with 2,000 hours of live fire training.

This year, every firefighter will participate in a comprehensive emergency vehicle driver operator course.

Ground will be broken on Fire Station 14, which will be at the southeast corner of State Boulevard and Reed Road. The city fire department will also receive two engine replacements.

“Public safety continues to be a top priority,” Henry said in a news release, “and the accomplishments from 2021 and goals for 2022 demonstrate how seriously we take our work to protect the public.”

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