FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Mayor Tom Henry, Police Chief Steve Reed and Fire Chief Eric Lahey today provided a public safety recap of 2021 and highlighted plans for 2022 that are designed to continue making the City of Fort Wayne as safe as possible, while we enter the third year of a challenging pandemic.
Fort Wayne Police Department Data and Highlights from 2021:
*The FWPD’s 21st and 22nd classes of Lateral Officers began their duty on the streets.
*A new FWPD Recruitment Team began work in 2021.
*Over 100 additional body cameras were added to the FWPD.
*Officers responded to over 140,000 calls for service.
*Overall crime was down 6%.
*Violent crime was down 36.74%.
*Property crimes were down .05%.
*There were 41 homicides in 2021 with a 76% clearance rate of 2021 homicides.
*Over 850 firearms were taken off the street, with 39 of those related to homicides.
*Two social workers were added to the Hope and Recover Team (HART), which connects adults who have experienced a nonfatal overdose with treatment and recovery services.
*HART connected 371 individuals with treatment and recovery services.
*There were 115 overdose deaths, with 95 pending toxicology results.
*The FWPD received a $735,000 Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Site-Based Program grant, a $98,609 Justice Assistance Grant and a $95,817 Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act grant.
FWPD Plans for 2022:
*The FWPD’s 66th recruit class will begin later this month, which will bring the staffing level up to 485 officers.
*All Uniform Operations personnel will be equipped with body cameras.
*The Drone as First Responder program will begin.
*An additional sergeant will be added to the Homicide Unit to assist in continued efforts to solve homicide cases.
*A new Traffic Enforcement Unit will begin later in the year.
Fort Wayne Fire Department Data and Highlights from 2021:
*The FWFD added 14 new recruits, who also hold Advanced Life Support certifications.
*There were over 27,000 calls for service (13,000 associated with EMS).
*Firefighters received over 110,000 hours of training, with 2,000 hours of live fire training.
*Every member of the FWFD completed the United Front Initiative training.
* The FWFD received two new replacement engines.
*The final construction phase of the Live Instructional Fire Education Center was completed.
*Beginning in 2020, and completed in 2021, the FWFD Training Division developed and implemented a robust on-line training platform that allows firefighters to stay current on training without compromising their safety.
*The FWFD secured over $1.1 million in grant funding to use for radios, rescue tools and recruit training.
*The Code Enforcement Division completed almost 7,000 local business inspections, 22% more than in 2020.
*The FWFD Division of Public Education completed 276 programs that reached over 6,000 local students and over 400 adults.
*The FWFD distributed over 400 free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to local residents.
*The FWFD Investigations Division completed over 300 investigations, a 10% increase over the number of investigations completed in 2020.
*There was a 2% increase in the number of fires that were determined to be intentionally set as compared to 2020.
*The Investigations Division completed 20 arrests in 2021, a 1% increase when compared to 2020.
FWFD Plans for 2022:
*The FWFD will receive two more engines in February to replace Engine 19 and Engine 16.
*The bidding process will be completed and radios will be upgraded to utilize the Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant awarded in 2021.
*Twenty-four recruits will begin their training as part of the 94th recruit class.
*Ground will be broken for the new location of Station 14, on the southeast corner of State Blvd. and Reed Rd.
*Every firefighter will participate in a comprehensive emergency vehicle driver operator course which will include lessons on the theory of firefighting hydraulics.
*The Fire Merit System Rules overhaul will be completed, a two year project involving members of City Council, the Fire Administration and the IAFF Local 124.
“Public safety continues to be a top priority and the accomplishments from 2021 and goals for 2022 demonstrate how seriously we take our work to protect the public,” said Mayor Henry. “I’m encouraged by the proactive approach and implementation of best practices by the FWPD and FWFD. It’s vital that residents, businesses, and visitors feel safe in our community, and the collective work we’re doing provides comfort that Fort Wayne is a safe city that’s moving in the right direction.”
“The Fort Wayne Police Department is dedicated to meeting the safety needs of our community,” said Police Chief Steve Reed. “While many other large cities have seen a dramatic rise in homicides and overall violent crime, we have not. I want to thank the officers and staff of the Fort Wayne Police Department for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank the Mayor, City Council, and the community for their support.”
“I am so proud of what the Fort Wayne Fire Department was able to accomplish in 2021,” said Fire Chief Eric Lahey. “We asked our firefighters to adjust to a new way of accomplishing our mission during this pandemic and they delivered. We were able to maintain minimum staffing on all of our apparatus, we responded to more emergency runs, completed more inspections, investigated more fires, made more arrests with fire related crimes, maintained our commitment to education and completed more training than we did in 2020. This is a testament to the tenacity of the men and women of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, and their commitment to the mission of saving lives and preventing the loss of property.”