I will deliver my 2019 State of the City Address at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at the Grand Wayne Center, 120 W. Jefferson Blvd. This presentation is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to arrive by 11:45 a.m. During my speech, I’ll highlight City successes in 2018 and look ahead to plans for 2019. The theme this year is “Our Future is Now.”
WANE 15 News, WPTA ABC 21 and Fort Wayne’s MyTV, Channel 21.3 will air the speech live, if you’re unable to attend in person.
Police Chief Steve Reed and Fire Chief Eric Lahey joined me recently to provide a public safety recap of 2018 and to highlight plans for 2019 that are designed to make the City of Fort Wayne as safe as possible.
A commitment to public safety has been a top priority since I became mayor and it will continue to be. Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our residents, neighborhoods and businesses.
Fort Wayne Police Department Data and Highlights from 2018:
*The FWPD’s 63rd recruit class graduated along with the 19th lateral class putting 28 new officers on the street.
*Overall crime was down 15 percent.
*Increase in violent crimes (7.8%) over last year, with many of those incidents involving drug/gang activity.
*25 total homicides cleared/closed (54% overall clearance rate for 2018).
*Adult arrests were up 4 percent.
*Arrests for illegal possession of a handgun were up over 28%.
*Vice and narcotics Division/Gang Unit seized over 226 firearms (overall more than 700 guns seized compared to 650 in 2017).
*Record seizures of Heroin (1,590 grams), Meth (2,984 grams), and Marijuana (139,209 grams or approximately 307 lbs); with a resurgence of Crack Cocaine (at 1,801 grams).
*Officers responded to over 153,000 calls for service.
FWPD Plans for 2019:
*The FWPD’s 64th recruit class and 20th Lateral Class will be held in 2019. The new officers will help offset known retirements and bring the FWPD staffing level to more than 480 officers by the end of the year.
*Continuation of the FWPD’s partnership with Fort Wayne UNITED’s TenPoint Coalition, a program implemented last fall that focuses on addressing youth gun violence as well as improving the conditions and the quality of life for residents in the areas of education, health, and housing.
*Adding resources to the Vice & Narcotics Division to address drug issues.
*Adding resources to the Homicide Unit to address violent crimes.
*Growing the Downtown Patrol by increasing the number of bike patrol officers. Officers will also be patrolling year-round.
*Vice & Narcotics Division Commanders will increase their focus on known violent offenders throughout the City.
*Quadrant Commanders will begin joint enforcement efforts with other City agencies in addressing issues in high crime areas.
*The new K9 training facility is expected to be complete in November. The simulated two bedroom home will be used to advance the training of dogs in a more realistic home environment.
*A New Incident Command Vehicle will be ready for service in late January.
Fort Wayne Fire Department Data and Highlights from 2018:
*24,000 calls for service (9,900 associated with EMS).
*Over 95,000 hours of training.
*Two mid-mount ladder trucks were placed into service, offering the traditional benefits of the apparatus, along with additional support for police and fire active shooter response.
*Two new replacement engines were purchased.
*Received sixteen new Thermal Imagining Cameras.
*Received a grant from the Local Emergency Planning Committee to purchase a drone to assist with fire investigations, hazardous material recon and to locate drowning victims.
*Added 26 Advanced Life Support personnel.
FWFD Plans for 2019:
*Eighteen new firefighters will begin training for the 91st recruit class and the hiring process for the 92nd recruit class will begin.
*The FWFD will graduate another nineteen Advanced Life Support personnel and another eighteen will begin training.
*The FWFD will request a grant for 2,000 smoke detectors which will be offered and installed for free throughout the community.
*A new technical rescue vehicle will go into service and two new replacement engines will be purchased to better serve and protect residents and businesses.
*The FWFD Records Management System will be updated to improve data gathering to communicate vital patient information to receiving hospital.
Our accomplishments and challenges in 2018 and our goals and objectives for 2019 demonstrate how large cities must continue to be proactive and innovative in providing public safety services. I’m more optimistic than ever before about where our police and fire departments are headed as we work together to serve and protect.
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