New Austin Police Chief tackling drugs, crime with more officers - WDRB 41 Louisville News

New Austin Police Chief tackling drugs, crime with more officers and tip line

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AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) – The southern Indiana city plagued by the HIV drug epidemic has a new man taking control of crime.

Chief Robert Gudgel, the new police chief in Austin, Indiana hopes to double the size of the police force and add a crime tip line.

The streets of the small city are tainted with a bad reputation.

“I've had people come up to me and say they might be ashamed to tell people where they're from,” Chief Gudgel said. “And I encourage them not to be ashamed. Everybody has these issues.”

The new top cop plans on changing the perspective. He was the very first officer hired in Austin when it became a city in 2008.

The issues he’s facing are HIV quickly spreading among drug users who share needles in the area and other crimes stemming from that drug use.

“Whenever they're addicted to certain drugs, they steal to get those drugs,” Gudgel said.

He says the way to combat the crime -- add more officers. A seventh officer was just hired last week, but still must be trained at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

“Presence is everything. Just a police car out on the streets is going to deter certain crimes,” Gudgel said.

Down the road his goal is to have one officer for every 500 people.

“I would love to have 10 officers. That would be ideal, but funding -- that's an issue,” Gudgel said.

The chief says he'll apply for grants, but in the meantime he hopes the anonymous police tip line will help take care of fighting crime. Since become chief January 1st, he’s just taking one day at a time.

“I was excited. I want to make a difference here,” Gudgel said.

The crime tip line is expected to be available in the next couple of weeks. The phone number will be released when the tip line is up and running.

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