By Todd Travis
The Beech Grove Police Department has agreed to let their community in on the ins and outs of their service to local citizens. With “On Patrol: Live”, the officers give a firsthand look at the daily events they encounter while on patrol. “We’re a little department with big city problems,” said Deputy Chief Robert Mercuri. “One of the reasons we wanted to be on “On Patrol: Live” is to legitimize who we are. We’re often asked to do a lot more with less. We don’t have the luxury of specializing in any one thing, we have to do everything.”
Mercuri has been with BGPD for 31 years. Even though the department hasn’t change drastically in size, they have encountered all the same challenges that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has faced. They operate as their own entity – maintaining their autonomy as a separate, but smaller police department. When Mercuri started, he was one of 31 officers. Today, the department is allotted for 38 officers serving more than 14,000 town residents and others outside of city limits.
“We have a load patrol, investigations, a couple guys detailed to a drug task force, we have four general detectives, we have two canines, we have a special response team that has done multiple federal warrants throughout Marion County as part of task force and to assist in things utilized by the FBI, we have three administrators – myself, Chief Michael Maurice and Deputy Chief of Operations Tom Hurrle,” Mercuri explained.
In addition to legitimizing the department, Mercuri hopes the show will also connect the department with the community. “The main reasons (why we’re doing the show) are to connect with people in Beech Grove, show them where their tax dollars are going, show them who these people are who we think are some of the best police officers in the state of Indiana,” Mercuri said. “So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
Sgt. Tyler Frankel is one of the officers who has had the film crew join him in his patrol car. He’s been with BGPD for seven years. He spent about eight years in the international guard coming out of high school and went to college for law enforcement. “I like the smaller town feel and the family aspect of this department. Everyone takes care of each other. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be part of this department,” Frankel shared.
“To be honest, I was pretty nervous about doing the show at first. Police officers like having the car to themselves and I think pretty much every police officer you talk to would say the car is their office,” Frankel stated. “After the first run or two, I saw that they just stand back and let you do your normal job and I felt much better about it.” Frankel had the film crew ride with him during the week when the show was not live and then he had his first live run last Friday. “It’s kind of fun because the things that we do on a normal basis are things that the film crew doesn’t usually experience. So when we get back to the car, we talk about what happened and it’s interesting to see what their take on everything is.”
Both Mercuri and Frankel have emphasized the importance of having community support. “We have a lot of people stop by and thank us while we’re eating or stopped and you might not think it means much, but it does to everybody,” Frankel mentioned. The support of the city is equally important. “We have a very supportive mayor and city council and clerk treasurer as well. Without them doing their job, we wouldn’t have the ability to do ours. It’s really up to them to make Beech Grove stand out. A lot of people want the small-town feel, but when you’re competing against statewide agencies, it helps to have competitive compensation and benefits.”
WHERE TO WATCH “ON PATROL: LIVE”
The Beech Grove Police Department films live every Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m. on REELZ. For more information, go to reelz.com/show/on-patrol-live
For more info on the show visit livepd.org/departments/beech-grove-police-department/