Fifty state troopers arrived Monday in a convoy of 25 squad cars, emergency lights flashing, to patrol violence-racked Gary.
The police presence, including a helicopter and a blue-and-white mobile command center on a college campus near downtown, drew a mixed response from residents. Some waved to welcome the cars, others were skeptical.
Gov. Evan Bayh ordered the troopers in for 30 days to help local police patrol the streets. Gary’s murder rate has been surging and is approaching a record, with 96 homicides so far this year.
Bayh welcomed the troopers, saying: “We are here today to send a loud and clear message to the gang leaders and the drug dealers and the petty criminals who haunt the streets of Gary that we will no longer tolerate you, and we will not tolerate your actions.”
The troopers, pulled from their regular duties in districts throughout the state, will patrol targeted areas and set up checkpoints to search for guns, drugs and other illegal activity.
Jim Wiseman, the owner of Cardinal Equipment & Supply on one of Gary’s main streets, said criminals will just lie low until the troopers leave.
“It’s a Band-Aid effect,” he said.