About the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department

In September 1854, thirty-three years after the City of Indianapolis was founded, Mayor James McCready appointed 14 men to the first police force, under the command of Captain Jefferson Springsteen. Prior to 1854, peace was maintained in Indianapolis by a town marshal, the sheriff and a few deputies, a volunteer night watch, and a small number of constables and justices of the peace.


The Offices of the Marion County Sheriff, Marion County Prosecutor and Justice of the Peace were created under Indiana's Constitution in 1816. The first Sheriff of Marion County was Hervey Bates and he was elected to a two-year term beginning in 1822. The first Marion County Jail was a log cabin built on the northwest corner of the intersection of Market and Delaware in downtown, Indianapolis.  The county had to pay $59 to have the woods at the corner cleared before construction could begin.


The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department was established on January 1, 2007, by General Ordinance 110, consolidating the former Indianapolis Police Department with the law enforcement division of the Marion County Sheriff's Department. The ordinance assigns responsibility for the police department to the sheriff who appoints a chief of police, under whose direction the department operates.




Police Books

Robert L. Snow

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Captain Robert L. Snow is a 30 year veteran of the Indianapolis Police Department.  He has served throughout the ranks as a police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain.  As a police executive, he has been the Indianapolis Police Department’s Commander of Planning and Research, the Chief’s Administrative Assistant, Executive Officer and Captain of Detectives.  He retired from the Indianapolis Police Department at the rank of captain and as the Commander of the Homicide. Robert graduated from Indiana University summa cum laude with degrees in Criminal Justice and Psychology.  He has been a publishing writer for well over 20 years, with dozens of articles and short stories in such national magazines as Playboy, Reader’s Digest, LAW & ORDER, Action Digest, Police, and the National Enquirer. Captain Snow has also written twelve books: "The Complete Guide to Personal and Home Safety," "SWAT Teams," "Family Abuse," "Stopping A Stalker," "Terrorists Among Us," "Looking For Carroll Beckwith," "Deadly Cults,"   "Murder 101," "Sex Crimes Investigation," “Policewomen Who Made History: Breaking through the Ranks,” Fining Runaways and Missing Adults: When No One Else is Looking; Slaughter on North LaSalle; and, Killers in the Family.

Robert uses his vast experience in policing to enlighten, assist and entertain ordinary citizens in dealing with serious social problems.  As an example, his book on cults asks and answers a variety of important questions: “How does a Vampire Cult differ from a Satanic Cult? How do seemingly "normal" or "ordinary" citizens suddenly find themselves committed to a group whose leader promotes criminal activities and isolation from families and friends? What should you do if a loved one becomes indoctrinated by a potentially dangerous cult?”  The book focuses on various cults and their often criminal belief systems.

In addition to providing insight into the somewhat off-beat world of cults, Captain Snow’s books offer practical advice and insight.  For instance, like “family abuse, stalking is a crime widely misunderstood.  While many people see stalkers as simply lovesick people pining away for someone who doesn’t love them, all too often stalkers are actually mentally ill, potentially violent, and occasionally even deadly.”  In his book “Stopping a Stalker,” Snow “provides readers with the crucial information they can use to protect themselves and their loved ones from all types of stalkers.  He also outlines much-needed advice on how to prevent stalking before it starts, as well as step-by-step guidelines on what readers can do to deter a stalker.  Most important, Captain Snow shows readers how to get the legal system on their side, and then use it to bring stalkers to justice.”

According to the book description of Killers in the Family: Inside a Real Family of Criminals Bound by Blood, "In July 2008, there were a rash of murders in Indianapolis, three of which occurred during robberies committed by Brian Reese. It turned out he learned his life of crime at home: his father, Paul Sr., who served as his lookout man, had been in and out of prison numerous times, and his mother, Barbarawho was Brians getaway driver the day of his arrest (right after he shot a police officer)had once been convicted of embezzlement. The four Reese brothers had been in and out of prison with more than three dozen convictions among them. It was no wonder parents warned their children to stay away from the Reeses. But soon they would learn that the familys secrets were darker than they ever imagined."

According to the book description of Finding Runaways and Missing Adults: When No One Else is Looking, “Every year in the United States, almost two million children run away from home. In addition, on the average, the police in our country have at any one time over 100,000 active missing-adult cases. This book will show readers how, with just a little advance preparation and insight, they can greatly increase their chances of finding a missing loved one, even after police have stopped actively looking. With sensationalized child disappearances, teenagers vanishing, and adults faking their own deaths, the challenge of finding missing persons often falls most directly on those who love them. And though in past years this involved a considerable amount of footwork, that is no longer the case. With the advent of the Internet and the many new search engines available, much of the searching and canvassing can now be done from computers. Family members and friends looking for missing loved ones need to know what programs and databases to access, though, to get the search under way. Snow reveals to readers the process the police use when trying to locate missing people of interest, information that readers can then use to locate their own missing loved ones. Using real stories and first hand accounts, the author offers hope and guidance to those who may have given up the search for a child, a spouse, a parent, or a friend.”

According to the book description of Slaughter on North Lasalle, “On December 1, 1971, the bodies of Robert Gierse, James Barker, and Robert Hinson were found in their blood-spattered Indianapolis home. All three had reputations as prodigious womanizers, hard-drinking bar fighters, and unscrupulous businessmen--the kind of men with more enemies than friends. When detectives searched the home and discovered an address book used as a sex contest scorecard, their new suspect list included jilted one-night stands, jealous boyfriends, and husbands--dozens upon dozens of names. Sensational reports and rumors soon overwhelmed the investigation , and real answers eluded the police and the media alike for three decades, until Roy West, a detective with a reputation for cracking "unsolvable" cases, re-opened the files.”

According to the book description of Policewomen Who Made History: Breaking through the Ranks, “The author covers the entire history of policewomen in America since their initial promotion from desk jobs to patrol positions, and through the ranks from there. In only 40 years, women in police departments across the country have advanced with amazing speed to positions traditionally reserved for men. Many have gone on to become police chiefs, SWAT team commanders, homicide detectives, training instructors, and patrol officers. Having witnessed first-hand the transition from women as meter maids to full-fledged officers, the author offers first-hand accounts from women and others engaged in this important and transformative change in the world of American policing.”

According to his latest book, Technology and Law Enforcement: From Gumshoe to Gamma Rays, “Although for much of the mid-20th century police departments across the U.S. had been reluctant to embrace new technology, depending instead on traditional police techniques, detectives in Los Angeles finally departed from this practice when they found themselves stymied in their attempts to solve the infamous Night Stalker serial murder case. This murderer and rapist had gone on a deadly rampage during the spring and summer of 1985, and though the police used every traditional police technique, they could not solve the crime. Finally, in desperation, they decided to do something different: use what was then the latest, cutting edge-technology. This new technology, the laser print finder, worked perfectly and the police arrested the Night Stalker the next day. Following this astonishing success, police departments across the nation suddenly began clamoring to obtain all kinds of new technology to assist them in solving crimes. This rush to embrace the latest technology hasn't slowed in the intervening 21 years. This book takes readers through every major branch of law enforcement and shows how technology has radically changed police department operations during the last two decades. It also shows how these changes continue today as technology advances and refines techniques already in practice. Beginning with the Night Stalker case, the author illustrates how the use and reliance on new technologies in solving crimes has made policing and detective work more accurate and efficient in capturing and convicting criminals (and courts more recently in releasing innocents convicted of crimes). Capitalizing on the interest in all things forensic, this book illuminates the behind the scenes technologies that go into solving crimes and keeping dangerous criminals off the street. Snow covers DNA and fingerprint technologies, vehicle technologies, undercover work, bomb detection, and other methods. Using many real life examples and first hand anecdotes, he shows how technology has become part and parcel of criminal justice efforts to solve crimes.

According to the book description of The Complete Guide to Personal and Home Safety: What You Need to Know, “Everything you need to know to protect yourself and your family--from dead-bolting your door to air travel safety. Now more than ever, Americans are aware of threats to their personal safety and are searching for ways to protect themselves and their loved ones. Newly updated since the events of September 11 with important information on mail contamination and travel security, The Complete Guide to Personal and Home Safety is the most comprehensive guide on personal and home security available. Captain Snow, a seasoned police officer, guides readers in developing their own safety plans--from how to choose an alarm monitoring service to what to do in the case of a missing person. Covering everything from the most common crimes of larceny and traffic accidents to the unlikely but frightening possibilities of hostage situations and assault, The Complete Guide to Personal and Home Safety offers readers the knowledge and strategies they need to handle any situation that may arise.”

The Library Journal said of Stopping A Stalker: A Cop's Guide To Making The System Work For You, “Indianapolis police captain Snow (Family Abuse, LJ 6/1/97) has written a comprehensive, practical guide to resisting stalking. The book discusses the ten types of stalking, from intimate-partner stalking to serial stalking, relaying many celebrity-stalking and other anecdotes culled from the media and the author's own experiences. The best part of the book details how to protect personal information from prying eyes and how to respond to unwanted contact before it becomes violent. He also suggests checking out prospective dates, keeping a cellular phone on hand, and being wary of others' obsessive behavior. Finally, he chastises police and the judiciary for not taking stalking more seriously and stresses self-protection over reliance on court-issued protective orders. Highly recommended for general collections.”

According to the book description of Child Abduction: Prevention, Investigation, and Recovery, “While most people have heard about high-profile abductions such as the Elizabeth Smart case, such abductions are not isolated cases. The abduction of children occurs much more often in our country than most people would suspect, but because of a fault in our country's national crime reporting procedures, no one knows the true number. This book details the scope of the child abduction problem in the United States, and its very real danger. It covers the different types of abductions and discusses the psychological changes that can occur in long-term abducted children that will often stop them from attempting to escape, or even to seek help, though good opportunities may present themselves. Snow also discusses the danger to secondary victims of child abduction. He devotes several chapters to what both parents and the government can do to stop many of the child abductions that now occur, and, for those not stopped, steps parents can take that will greatly assist the authorities in quickly locating and safely rescuing an abducted child. He concludes with a chapter on the psychological and emotional concerns of recovered abducted children, and how families can help them re-integrate themselves into a normal life. Real life examples are provided in every chapter. It is every parent's worst nightmare. Someone has abducted their child, and no one, including the police, has a clue where the child is. But worse, while parents feel certain their child is terrified and crying desperately for them, they don't know if their child is being physically mistreated, sexually molested, or worse. The uncertainty and powerlessness can drive parents of abducted children to the edge of insanity. But there are measures parents and children can take to avoid being the victim of abduction. There are things families can do, too, to apprehend offenders and bring children home even after an abduction occurs. Here, a retired police captain offers expert advice designed to help keep children safe and to help families deal with an abduction once it has occurred. Practical advice is offered throughout to families and professionals that will help all involved handle this tense and terrifying experience.”

According to the book description of Murder 101: Homicide and Its Investigation, “Of all crimes, murder fascinates the public more than any other. While considered a detestable act, for which society reserves its severest punishments, homicide still captivates the American public. But the way homicide and its investigation are depicted in our media fail to capture just how murders get solved. Here, Snow takes us on a tour of murder, its investigation, and its prosecution from the perspective of a seasoned homicide detective. From the commission of the crime to the collection of evidence, examination of the crime scene, roundup of suspects, interrogation, and resolution, he leads readers from the scene to the courtroom, stopping along the way to consider all the elements that go into a murder investigation. He considers the culprits, the motives, the victims and their families, and offers readers a glimpse into the actual techniques and methods used to solve real crimes. This volume will fascinate and inform anyone interested in knowing the truth behind the scene of the crime of murder. Through the use of real-life cases of actual murders, Snow captures the intricacies of solving murders of all sorts. From domestic or intimate partner murders to cold cases and sexually based murders, police must approach homicide cases very carefully so that successful prosecution can eventually take place. Snow shows that there is much that can be learned from the crime scene, the body, the evidence, and the witnesses in terms of identifying suspects and motives for murder. He considers all aspects of the murder case and illustrates how careful police work can lead to the capture of the right suspect in any type of homicide. In addition, he looks at the victims themselves and the aftermath of their murders for their families and friends, who must cope with the violent loss of their loved ones. What emerges from these pages is a truer picture of the investigation of this most violent crime.”

According to the book description of Terrorists Among Us: The Militia Threat, “a chilling exploration of the dangers posed by homegrown terrorist groups and how to stop them. With the events of Ruby Ridge, Waco, and Oklahoma City, the American militia movement emerged from the obscurity of secluded cabins and survivalist meetings into the national media spotlight. Yet how much do we really know about these radical groups determined to wage war against the American government? In this eye-opening look at the militia movement, Captain Robert L. Snow provides a chilling portrayal of the explosive cauldron of hate brewing across our nation. He takes us behind the scenes to expose the militias' extreme military-style training tactics; their trade and sale of banned semi-automatic weapons and explosives; and the often-disturbing beliefs, from anti-government conspiracy theories to end-time prophecies, which motivate them. Filled with firsthand accounts of how the government has already stopped a dozen or more potential attacks, Terrorists Among Us is an eye-opening exposé of the danger that lurks within our borders.”

According to the book description of Family Abuse, “Captain Snow, a veteran police officer and acclaimed author of Protecting Your Life, Home, and Property, gives us a startling look, as only a police officer can, at the violence, tears, and terror that shatter homes and lives across America, and tells us what we can do about it. Walking us through the course of a regular night shift, we witness, first-hand, tragic and vividly real scenes of abuse that are becoming all too commonplace. We learn the heart-wrenching story of a woman who has suffered burns, broken limbs, and even a fractured skull at the hands of her brutal husband, but is too terrified to report his crimes. We see the chilling evidence of neglect in a bare, airless, padlocked room where a son has imprisoned his elderly mother without sufficient food, medicine, or human contact, awaiting her death. And we hear the stuttered excuses of a father lying about the scald marks on his baby's legs as the child screams in agony. Abusers, we discover, come from every walk of life, and no one is untouched by the powerful consequences of violence, neglect, and emotional and sexual abuse in this country. Snow goes on to reveal the tactics of violence and terror these abusers all wield - whether against a parent, wife, or child. More importantly, he shows that this hateful legacy of abuse need not continue. At the heart of this book is an urgent, persistent question: How can we stop these horrible crimes? With an insider's knowledge forged from years of experience on the police force, combined with in-depth research, Snow provides a refreshingly practical perspective: tough solutions to conquer this growing crime. Taking on the ranks of the police, the courts, and public education, he sounds a clarion call for reform and reeducation. Captain Snow also gives invaluable advice - in this less-than-perfect world - to victims and their loved ones on how they can now use the police and legal system to their best advantage in fighting against abuse.”

According to the book description of Swat Teams: Explosive Face-offs With America's Deadliest Criminals, “An inside look at our first line of defense against terrorists and hostage takers Ever since Charles Whitman gunned down over a dozen innocent people in 1966 from his perch atop the University of Texas clock tower, "SWAT team" has become a household word. In this compelling book, police veteran Robert L. Snow takes us into the midst of the nation's heroic SWAT teams, allowing us to eavesdrop on harrowing negotiations between killers and cops. He gives us a balanced look at what SWAT teams do right and what they do wrong and recommends ways to improve their tactics in future hostage situations. While he gives no-holds-barred analyses of such dire failures as Waco, he also celebrates SWAT's greatest triumphs-thousands of incidents in which no one was hurt. No policeman or citizen can afford to miss this harrowing yet hopeful look at society's main weapon against sudden terror. "A riveting account of the inner workings of SWAT...Fascinating and informative!”

According to the book description of Sex Crimes Investigation, “No one wants to be robbed at gunpoint, or have his car stolen, or his house robbed. When these crimes happen, victims may feel angry, afraid, or violated. But there is no violation quite so devastating as sexual assault. Victims do not recover easily--either emotionally, psychologically, or physically from such incidents, and the long-term impact can be devastating to the victims, their families, and communities. Investigating violent sex crimes is particularly difficult for many reasons. Often the collection of evidence requires a full medical examination of the victim--a second violation of sorts. Police must interview the victim, who must recount his or her assault. Often, the victims are children, and offenders range from family members to perfect strangers. But investigating and prosecuting these crimes is crucial to the healing process of many victims, and to the safety of society at large. Detective Snow takes readers on a tour of the ways in which the police investigate and help prosecute such crimes. Each chapter begins with a real-life incident and throughout the book real stories are used to illustrate each step in the process. Snow addresses the processing of the crime scene, the collection of evidence, the development of suspects, the questioning of witnesses and perpetrators, and the preparation for trial. Few members of the public have any idea how complex and delicate the investigation of sex crimes really is. This book sheds light on this important police work and helps readers understand how these crimes are investigated, solved, and prosecuted. Victims and their families will especially benefit from the information in this book, but all readers will gain insight into the crimes, their incidence, their impact on victims, and the way the criminal justice system responds, from the scene of the crime through the capture and incarceration of the perpetrators.”

Booklist said of Deadly Cults: The Crimes of True Believers, “In this insightful look at cults and their charismatic leaders, Snow (an Indianapolis police officer) relies far more on previously published material than on first-hand reporting. Although the book contains plenty of quotes from concerned parties (witnesses, experts, etc.), the majority of the material is drawn from newspapers, magazines, and other media. On the other hand, Snow handles his material perceptively, drawing sharp conclusions from his secondary sources and anecdotal evidence. The examples he chooses range from the well known (Jim Jones, David Koresh) to the obscure (Roland Robidoux, a religious cult leader whose followers let their own children die). His prose is one or two levels above workmanlike, and he infuses his narrative with enough drama to generate considerable empathy for the victims of cults. The book concludes with a lengthy and quite valuable section on the workings of a cult, laying out methods cult leaders might use to ensnare "converts" and offering tips on how to avoid becoming indoctrinated. Pricey for public libraries but useful for reports and personal research.”

Publisher’s Weekly said of Looking for Carroll Beckwith: The True Story of a Detective's Search for His Past Life, “This tale is improbable in more ways than one: Indianapolis police homicide commander Snow offers a dryly nonplused account of his discovery of his "past life" as 19th-century portrait painter Carroll Beckwith. Snow participated in (and taped) a therapeutic "recovered memory" session as a lark, and, once hypnotized, was jolted by a series of clear images and recollections that seemed even then strangely plausible, despite his cop's hard-nosed, empirical perspective. Later, when he walked into a New Orleans gallery at random and confronted a painting that had appeared to him in his vision, he determined to put his detective's investigative skills to work and research congruencies between his "memories" and the artist's life. Surprisingly, the evidence that he painstakingly assembled through retrieving Beckwith's journals and work from obscurity seemed fully to confirm that Snow's "recollections" were authentic. Snow relates all this ruefully, hardly eager to be perceived as "New Age." His crisp, unpretentious prose and descriptive skill go a long way in convincing one to follow his unorthodox journey. His researched account of Beckwith's lost life is impressive: Snow is remarkably sensitive to aesthetic concerns and has unearthed the compelling tale of an artist who was forced to rely on portraiture for support, and whose fast fade seemed foreordained, even as friends like John Singer Sargent found fame. Snow has the courage of his convictions: though his detective wife urged him to curtail his quest to avoid career risk, his book is provocative.”

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