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Salute to Our Southside Heroes

Salute to Our Southside Heroes

By Stephanie Dolan

A new digital collection of history

The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library currently houses a digital collection of materials from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department. This collection features log books, dispatch recordings, personnel records, newsletters and photos that date all the way back to the 1870s.

“This collection is the most complete and definitive collection of documents, photographs, videos and other exhibits ever compiled,” stated IMPD Deputy Chief Michael Spears. “We hope citizens of Indianapolis and others throughout the world will enjoy reviewing our accomplishments and heritage.”

“The Indianapolis Fire Department has a rich and proud 160-year history, and through our partnership with The Indianapolis Public Library, we are preserving that history for future generations,” added Tom Hanify, president of Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, said.

A scene from the Capital Paper Company fire at 115 S. Pennsylvania St. in 1916. (Submitted photos)

A new home to serve community needs

The White River Township Fire Department will be moving into a new fire station on Nov. 15.

“I’m really proud of and complimentary to INDOT for our working relationship,” said White River Township Fire Department Chief Jeremy Pell. “They’ve replaced this fire station. They’re actually paying for the bulk of that fire station and making this community whole.”

Along with this new fire station will come other new changes and upgrades. “We’re partnering with Center Grove Schools so that they have a public safety building on their campus,” Pell said. “We will obviously have space for the Johnson County Sheriff’s office. The station will house a fully staffed fire engine and an ambulance. It’s placed in that location for the presence it will be able to provide for the school and the access we’ll have to both our interchanges, which are County Line Road and Smith Valley Road. Those are huge benefits to the community and at the help of INDOT.”

The department also recently received a grant from Firehouse Subs for personal protective equipment for active shooter situations.

Traffic officers at the intersection of Delaware and Maryland streets in the 1890s.

Growth through grants

Robert Cheshire, chief of the Beech Grove Fire Department, said that the department is proud to announce that they will be a recipient of a FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant in the amount of $28,000. These monies will be used to purchase gear extractors for each station. Extractors are used to clean firefighting gear worn by firefighters after a fire to help reduce the risk of exposure to cancer causing agents found in smoke. Routine cleaning also ensures that the gear remains in good working order for the next fire.

The department was also awarded two other grants earlier in the year from the Department of Homeland Security and Firestone Building Products. “These grants allowed us to purchase a closed-circuit monitoring system used for direct visualizing of the airway during intubation,” Cheshire said. “This state-of-the-art equipment will be utilized on emergency medical responses. This equipment will be placed on our apparatus.”

The Indianapolis Fire Department’s Hose Company #1 in the 1930s.

Improved training and helping future generations

The Beech Grove Police Department now has the most officers they’ve ever had on their roster.

“We’ve added three officers, and we’re budgeting for more,” Michael Maurice, assistant chief of the Beech Grove Police Department said. “Our equipment is state of the art. We’ve also implemented drug testing and mental health training for our officers.”

Unfortunately, Greenwood Fire Department and Greenwood Police Department were unable to respond by our deadline, but we thank them as well for their continued service. 


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