Deandra Dycus was one of several community members recognized Tuesday by the Indianapolis law enforcement officials as part of the 35th annual National Night Out community crime prevention event.
Dycus began work to prevent crime four years ago when her son was hit by a stray bullet. She says her son survived but cannot speak or walk.
"When my son was on life support fighting for his life, I promised that I would forever be his voice. I would be his arms, his legs, whatever he needed me to be so this would not continue to happen," she says.
Dycus now runs an advocacy and support organization called Purpose 4 My Pain and is involved in numerous other organizations.
She says her participation in a support group for women who have been affected by gun violence is one of the most meaningful experiences in her time working against violence.
"Being in there and listening to parents whose kids could’ve possibly been the one that shot my son, but still loving and supporting on them, it felt like it was bringing the vision full circle and allowing me to know that my son’s shooting wasn’t in vain," Dycus says.
Tuesday night Dycus will participate in the Night Out event at Washington Park. She works the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense every year to teach parents about safe gun storage.
IMPD also recognized eight Community Crime Fighters to celebrate the event.
Indianapolis residents will host more than 140 events across the city as a part of the National Night Out.
Police Chief Bryan Roach says that the event is a great way for IMPD to continue it’s beat policing initiative.
"This is an opportunity for beat officers that haven’t met certain members of their community and the community that haven’t met their beat officer to engage," he says.
Beat policing was re-implemented in April. Roach says IMPD’s interactions with the community had become negative and reactionary. He sees beat policing as a way to remedy this.
"Beat policing and knowing your neighbors, and neighbors knowing the police officer, starts that interaction. You have more positive engagement and that positive engagement I think diminishes the negative," Roach says.
IMPD now has 78 beat districs with the goal of reaching 120 districts by the end of next year.