In the wake of police shootings that have ignited civil unrest across the U.S., there has been an outcry for better policing and more training for officers. There also has been a rising level of distrust between communities and law enforcement.
At a recent Hamilton County Council meeting, Sheriff Dennis Quakenbush noted that several officers had laterally transferred to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office from other departments in search of better forming relationships with the community they serve.
One of those officers is Deputy Jeremiah Wilck, who transferred from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Dept. to the HCSO in April 2020.
Wilck isn’t new to the HCSO. He served with the department as a reserve officer in 2013 for three years. He joined IMPD in 2017 and served there for three years as well.
“A buddy of mine who was still in the reserves here told me the sheriff’s office was having a lateral process, and I didn’t take very long to put in my application,” said Wilck, who lives in Noblesville. “No. 1, it was for my kids. We’ve been living here in Noblesville since 2013, and we love Hamilton County and Noblesville. We weren’t going to move to Marion County, so it just made sense.”
Wilck said IMPD is a very large department and he felt like he was just a number.
“Here, you get more of that close-knit camaraderie and that sense of teamwork I’m really looking for,” he said.
Although he didn’t experience any violent racial tension while at IMPD, Wilck said there was a mistrust between the department and certain communities.
“Here, you get a lot of cooperation, but I was on cases down in Indy and there were witnesses who knew what happened but wouldn’t talk to you because of the disconnect between the community and the police department, and I don’t really see that up here,” Wilck said. “Down there, there’s not really people coming up saying, ‘How are you doing?’ and they’re not making small talk, but up here, you get a lot more of that. I’ve given out my personal cellphone to people. People want to keep Hamilton County safe, and so the community gets on top of it when they see people breaking the law.”