New IMPD chief hopes to make dent in homicide rate

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Tuesday named high-ranking internal candidate Randal Taylor as the chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, succeeding Chief Bryan Roach.

Taylor, 54, has been assistant chief of the department since 2017. Prior to that post, he served as assistant chief of investigations and commander of community affairs, among many other positions with IMPD and the Marion County Sheriff’s Department.

“Randy has proven himself to be a thoughtful, community-minded leader and a dedicated advocate for those impacted by violence,” Hogsett said Tuesday morning. “With decades of law enforcement experience in the Indianapolis community, I believe that Randy is uniquely positioned to build upon the progress of the last three years while moving the department forward with a renewed commitment to transparency, accountability and collaboration.”

Roach, a 28-year veteran of IMPD, had been its chief since 2017. He announced in November that he had accepted a new job and would leave the department at the end of the year.

One of Taylor’s most pressing problems will be lowering the homicide rate. The city has set four consecutive records for criminal murders, capped by 159 in 2018. In 2017, the total was 157, besting 149 in 2016 and 144 in 2015.

“We want those numbers to go down, especially those murder numbers and those nonfatal shootings numbers,” Taylor said. “I will do all that I can to make sure we get there.”

Taylor said he believes the city will end 2019 with the number of homicides slightly lower than 2018’s total.

“If that holds, we’ll take pride in that small victory,” Taylor said.

He said the community can expect to see him out at events and meetings, and he will continue to attend funerals for victims of violent crime.

Taylor’s career in Indianapolis law enforcement started in 1993. He joined the Marion County Sheriff’s Department as a patrol officer and then moved into investigations, where he worked on cases including child abuse, financial crimes and internal probes. He rose in the department, earning the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

He later worked in investigations for IMPD’s adult sex crimes and child abuse units. In 2012, he was appointed commander of community affairs.

“Chief Taylor knows where we have been,” Hogsett said. “Most importantly, he knows where we are going.”

Taylor credited a police officer in Champaign, Illinois, for jump-starting his career in law enforcement. Taylor said he was pulled over by this officer when he was 19 years old for running a red light, and the officer suggested he join the police force. He started his career with the Champaign Police Department in 1987 and worked there for six years before moving to Indianapolis.

“I’ve always loved being a police officer and I’m confident that my love for this department and this profession will continue as I serve in this capacity,” Taylor said.

Taylor named Chris Bailey as his assistant chief. Bailey left IMPD in July to become the chief of the Asheville Police Department in North Carolina, but he abruptly left that position in September to return to IMPD.

“He is a welcome confidant, and I appreciate him as my second-in-command,” Taylor said.

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