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Fort Wayne's public safety agencies show continued staffing increases, recap 2023 numbers

Mayor Tom Henry greets Fort Wayne Police officers during a press conference Friday.
Photo provided
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City of Fort Wayne
FILE PHOTO

New officers, new firefighters, and new programs were among the highlights of the City of Fort Wayne’s 2023 public safety report outlined by Police Chief Scott Caudill, Fire Chief Eric Lahey and Mayor Tom Henry.

The Fort Wayne Police Department had nearly 30 new officers begin their duties, either through the police academy or coming in from other departments. While the city saw 27 homicides within its boundaries, officials say the department’s clearance rate was at 92 percent.

Its Hope and Recovery Team, made up of social workers and detectives, followed up with 1,341 addicted individuals to help with treatment and recovery services, and reached nearly 3,000 unhoused individuals.

The city’s Drone as First Responder program was also launched, and is now responding to 911 calls, officials say.

The fire department saw the completion of a new Fire Station 14, saw firefighter staffing increase throughout the city to 368, and responded to more than 26,000 calls for service.

The fire department was also able to work with the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority to help reduce run volume.

For 2024, the police department will begin patrolling the city’s rivers seasonally and increase Downtown Bike Patrol officers.

The fire department will take possession of six new firefighting apparatus, or vehicles in the next year, and begin designing a new Fire Station 5 in Waynedale.

The 2023 report and the plans for 2024 were released Friday morning.

Mayor Henry says he is encouraged and impressed by the level of service provided by the city’s police and fire departments

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.