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After four years working the morning shift for Fox59 and CBS4, former news reporter Alexa Green is moving on to a new chapter as chief communications officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
“In this role, I’m going to bring a new perspective to IMPD. I’m going to bring a new perspective to the department and to the officers just about media relations, since I’ve been in the newsroom,” she said.
In her new job, Green said she aims to improve communication and transparency both within IMPD and between police and the community.
Green called the new position “a tremendous opportunity,” one she couldn’t turn down. She said her experience working as a morning news reporter made clear to her the impact IMPD has on Indianapolis.
“A lot of the news I covered on that morning shift was breaking news involving homicides and shootings and stabbings. Unfortunately, it’s just a lot of violence. But on the other hand, I was able to see firsthand the impact that IMPD and the officers had on Hoosiers.”
Green praised IMPD officers but said there is still room for improvement in transparency from police to the public.
“I think officers do an outstanding job. They have a very difficult task these days, right? And I think it’s fair to say that there’s a lot of work to do.”
IMPD has faced criticism in the past year over their handling of protests following the police killings of Black Americans, including George Floyd in Minneapolis. Weeks before Floyd’s death, IMPD officers fatally shot 21-year-old Dreasjon Reed and 19-year-old McHale Rose.
On the weekend of May 29, 2020, two people were killed, two were injured and more than 100 were arrested during protests. IMPD fired chemical agents at protestors to stop the riots that erupted. An independent review committee found IMPD was unprepared for the protests.
‘Highly upsetting’:Report says IMPD was unprepared in George Floyd protests
Green said the reckoning over police in America is bringing about change, though slowly.
“There’s work to be done in our city and our state and across our country, and change is slow, but it’s happening. And I think the department needs to continue — and I know they’ve already started doing this — they need to be continuing to be transparent and accountable with the department’s actions, which is what the community has asked, and that’s what the community deserves.”
Since the events of last May, IMPD has established new policies regarding the use of chemical agents. IMPD has also created a new review board consisting of five civilians and four officers that will review police use of force incidents in Indianapolis.
The department also rolled out a body camera program, and officers must have their camera on for every citizen interaction unless citizens request the camera be turned off for privacy purposes.
In what they called an effort for transparency, IMPD has begun releasing body camera footage as part of “critical incident videos,” which include the footage from the camera, narrative, the 911 audio and maps related to the incident.
For subscribers:Here’s how IMPD has responded to 123 requests for body camera footage
Green said she is open to the “very long change” in improving relations between the police and the public.
“People know that there’s some sort of distrust between police agencies in America, and the community that they serve, and we need to fix them. And, again, this is, this is not something that happens overnight.”
While she hopes to improve communication with local media partners in her new role, Green said she plans to engage with the local community through social media.
“There are other ways, aside from traditional media, to connect with the community to engage with the community. And that’s what they’ve already been doing. But we’re just going to continue to build on that momentum,” she said.
Green said she wants to emphasize the stories of officers within IMPD and focus on positive interactions with the public.
“Why not start telling the stories of some of these officers?” Green said. “I want the community to meet these men and women who are protecting them.””
However, Green recognized the news will not always be positive, and she plans to approach those situations with empathy.
“That’s exactly how we’re going to go about treating every sensitive situation that comes about in IMPD, treating people how they should be treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve,” she said.
Green is originally from New Jersey. She attended Syracuse University, where she discovered her passion for broadcast journalism.
She called her former role as a morning reporter with Fox59 “an unbelievable opportunity but a pretty bizarre schedule.”
“I was going to bed at seven, I was waking up at two and I was on air by four. So really, while the rest of the world was sleeping, or you know, just waking up, I was following breaking news.”
One of the hardest experiences from her time with local TV news, she said, was covering the FedEx mass shooting earlier this year, where eight people were killed.
“I always want to be a reporter with emotion and sensitive to these stories and sensitive to these scenes. But it wasn’t until I got home that I really had time to decompress and understand that we had a mass shooting right in our backyard.”
Green wants to continue to bring her passion for storytelling to her new role, even though she won’t be doing journalism in an official setting.
“I think getting those stories out there and getting those positive interactions; it’s important for the community to know and it’s important also for the department to know, and see the value in that,” she said.
Contact IndyStar Pulliam Fellow Claire Rafford at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @clairerafford
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Published at Fri, 25 Jun 2021 23:07:15 +0000