Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

July 8, 2013

Speedway Police say crime is down

Bart Doan

— The Speedway Police Department (SPD) expounded on a number of pertinent issues and gave an update on the first half of the year’s crime report Monday morning at its monthly commissioners’ meeting.

Included in that report were statistics showing that one of the main issues in 2012 — burglaries — have taken a steep drop from January to June of this year.

Assistant Police Chief Charles Upchurch reported that burglaries were down 33 percent, while assaults were down 13 percent. He also reported that there has been one homicide this calendar year, but that the crime was solved and the case has been adjudicated.

“We’re down everywhere except thefts,” he said, noting that that particular category was up 4 percent, but that the drop in numbers across the board show the hard work SPD officers are putting in.

Police Chief James Campbell said some of the numbers could further fall if residents maintain being mindful about locking their car doors, and that the department’s no trespass laws have played a significant role in reducing burglaries.

“Most of these thefts are coming from people outside the community,” he said.

Campbell also reported that the department is well prepared for the Brickyard 400 and Kroger Super Weekend, to culminate with the NASCAR race on July 28. Permits are available for those seeking weekend parking, running from 3 a.m. July 26 through 6 p.m. July 28.

“This race doesn’t have the same crowd in numbers (as the Indianapolis 500),” he said. “Often the weather is as much of a factor as criminal activity.”

Campbell also gave an update regarding the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Indiana and private attorneys representing taxi cab drivers in a lawsuit against the department filed July 1.

As many as 80 cab drivers reportedly had their licenses seized May 26, the day of the Indianapolis 500.

When the drivers went to the Speedway Police Department to pick up their licenses, they were also penalized with parking tickets costing $50.

Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director, said the actions of the police department violate the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution, because seizure of the licenses was not warranted, justified, or reasonable, and violated due process.

Campbell said that the department has had the same routes for the past few years and that there would be a meeting this week with some of the affected parties involved.

“I do want to note that Yellow Cab was not included in the lawsuit,” he said. “They are the largest cab operator in the city. They made it very clear that they were not party to this. We have maps of where you can and can’t pick passengers up.

“The very public announcement the ACLU made questioned the decision at the time. That’s why we have the courts (to sort it out). This is one where I’ve tried not to get into a media reaction. It doesn’t serve anything.”

The ACLU of Indiana is requesting a jury trial and damages for the plaintiffs’ missed work time.

Additional information about the happenings of the department may be found on the website at townofspeedway.org/department/index.php?fDD=3-0.