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Behind the badge: Randal Taylor reflects on time as IMPD chief

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Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor announced his resignation Dec. 15. He reflects on his time and leadership as IMPD chief and the department’s growth and challenges.

Taylor will remain with IMPD for the next year and a half in a different role. He has been on the force for 36 years and served as chief for the past four years.

RELATED: IMPD Chief Randal Taylor announces resignation

“With some of the people, I built that team over a period of time, so I’ll miss that the most. I’ll miss time with the community, and I’ll miss the critical role videos we’ve done for the public,” Taylor said to the Indianapolis Recorder.

“Whoever replaces me will have to continue forward thinking, taking care of the department and the community, and be focused. Also, I didn’t take advantage of my vacation time as chief. I would donate my time back to the community, and I would have prioritized my personal time better.”

In a video statement, Taylor said he had not been sure of how much longer he would serve as chief, and that Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett decided to “go a little different route” after the two discussed his future with the department.

Taylor said there is no animosity toward the mayor, and he considers him a good man and friend.

In a statement, Hogsett called Taylor a trailblazer.

“His nearly thirty years of service to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is a testament to his character, commitment to public service, and drive to make Indianapolis a safer city,” said Hogsett.

Randal Taylor resigns

Taylor said he is most proud of the transparency created within the department for the public, which includes critical incident videos, group discussions with the community, creating a use of force board, general orders board and body cameras.

IMPD posts critical incident videos on their social media for officer-involved shootings that result in an injury, death of an IMPD-detained person following a use of force incident, or other incidents as determined by the chief of police.

The videos are intended to explain what occurred in an objective way.

The department addressed excessive force in their arrest policies and implemented no more chokeholds after George Floyd’s death in 2020.

Taylor said he regrets not getting more messaging out to the community regarding officer-involved shootings.

This year alone, there have been 18 officer-involved shootings, the highest yearly count since 2015.

“I wish I would have formulated a quick enough response to explain these incidents to the community. I know we don’t always do right, but the last few years we haven’t had this many,” said Taylor.

He also wants recruitment and retention to improve for the department.

The City of Indianapolis budgeted for 1,743 officers this year, but the department only has around 1,510. Taylor said having more officers would mean more specialized units for special cases and assignments.

It also means more officers on the street policing and more vacation time so that officers are not overworked.

What happens now?

What has also been frustrating this year has been the uptick in youth gun violence.

He said a lot of homicide incidents stem from silly reasons. He wishes he had the answers on how to properly address the issue.

“How do police departments impact juveniles enough so that they don’t make these kinds of decisions? Is that even a department issue, or is there a way where we can work with parents or someone?” said Taylor.

Although stepping down as chief, Taylor said looking ahead to the 2024 legislative session, he is encouraging law makers to repeal permitless carry.

Gun homicides and accidental shootings have increased since this was put in place.

The department is releasing videos to teach people how to properly clean and inspect their firearms as well as another video to teach individuals how to interact with law enforcement.

One thing Taylor said he will not miss as chief is his pager going off as much; he looks forward to getting a lot more sleep.

“Even though I may not wear the chief badge, I’m still going to have these concerns for the department and the community. I encourage the next person, and I’ll give advice if they want it,” said Taylor, who said previous IMPD Chief Michael Spears helped him.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at (317) 762-7853 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON. 

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