FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Mayor Tom Henry joined the Fort Wayne Police and Fire departments Tuesday for a public meeting that revealed new safety measures for 2023.

“We made tremendous strides in 2022, and I’m encouraged by the proactive planning and strategies that will be implemented this year,” Mayor Henry said.

Fort Wayne Police are adding officers- specifically downtown and around the rivers- and implementing drones to respond to calls alongside officers this year.

FWPD released plans for 2023:

  • The FWPD’s 67th recruit class began this week, which will bring the staffing level up to 500 officers.
  • The Drone as First Responder program will move from the testing phase to operational.
  • The new River Patrol will begin patrolling the rivers seasonally.
  • The FWPD is expecting to increase the number of Downtown Bike Patrol officers.

FWPD released data and highlights from 2022:

  • Officers responded to over 140,000 calls for service.
  • There were 23 homicides in 2022, a 45% decrease from 2021, with an 83% clearance rate.
  • The FWPD’s 66th Recruit class graduated, and those 36 Officers began their duty on the streets.
  • Six officers from the 23rd and 24th classes of Lateral Officers also began their duty on the streets.
  • Violent crime was down for the 2nd straight year.
  • Over 1,000 firearms were taken off the street.
  • HART (Hope and Recovery Team, made up of social workers and detectives) followed up with 539 addicted individuals to help with treatment and recovery services, and engaged the community with 20,843 page views on social media.
  • The FWPD continued Procedural Justice Training in partnership with Fort Wayne UNITED. 
  • In an effort to increase convenience for the public, the FWPD now has online reporting as an option for reporting non-emergency incidents at fwpd.org.

“I’m proud of the Fort Wayne Police Department and their dedication to meeting the safety needs of our community,” said Police Chief Steve Reed. “Violent crime was down for the second year, homicides were down by almost half, and we have an 83% clearance rate on homicides. I appreciate the officers and staff of the Fort Wayne Police Department and I’m grateful for the support of the Mayor, City Council and the community.”  

This year’s plans for the Fort Wayne Fire Department include a new station, an increase in firefighters and the use of air packs to protect crews from breathing in dangerous elements at the scene.

FWFD released an outline of plans for 2023:

  • Complete the construction of the new Station 14 located on the northeast corner of State and Reed.
  • Take delivery of new radios purchased through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
  • Take delivery of new air packs, purchased through the American Rescue Plan Act.
  • Begin and graduate the 95th recruit class of the Fort Wayne Fire Department, with a goal of having 370 firefighters on staff by the end of the year and 100 firefighters who also hold Advanced Life Support certifications.
  • Purchase two engines to replace Engine 18 and Engine 12.

FWFD released data and highlights from 2022:

  • The FWFD responded to over 29,000 calls for service and averaged a less than five-minute response time, completed over 104,000 hours of training, distributed over 400 smoke detectors and 350 carbon monoxide detectors, delivered over 300 public education programs that reached over 13,000 local students and almost 2,000 adults, completed over 7,000 building inspections, and effected 20 arrests for arson related crimes. 
  • The FWFD’s 94th Recruit Class graduated, adding 20 new firefighters. Sixty percent of the 94th recruit class are in a group that is currently underrepresented within the FWFD, including three males who identify as Black, five males who identify as Hispanic, three females who identify as White, and one male who identifies as Two or More Races
  • Construction on the Live Burn Training Center was completed and training began.
  • The property for the new Station 14 was purchased, the design was completed and the bid was awarded, and the property for a new Station 5 was purchased.
  • Two engines and two trucks were delivered.
  • The FWFD received $2 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to purchase new breathing apparatus for the FWFD. These air packs provide an individual regulator for each firefighter, decreasing the likelihood of spreading contagious diseases through the use of the air pack. 
  • The FWFD Merit Rules were reviewed and updated—a two-year process.
  • Ten firefighters were promoted to the rank of lieutenant and six lieutenants were promoted to the rank of captain. 

“Despite a 6% increase in emergency run volume, the members of the Fort Wayne Fire Department maintained a five-minute average response time, completed over 104,000 hours of training, completed over 300 public education programs, installed over 300 smoke detectors, completed over 7,000 building inspections and our fire investigators effected 20 arrests for arson related crimes,” said Fire Chief Eric Lahey.