Thanksgiving Eve (sometimes referred to as Black Wednesday or blackout Wednesday) has replaced New Year’s Eve as biggest drinking night of the year. Thanksgiving is also the most traveled holiday period and many of those travelers are in cars. This creates a very dangerous mix. Every 51 seconds a person is killed by a drunk driver, 17% of those killed are under the age of 14. The Lake County Sheriff’s Police, Indiana State Police, and the Hammond Police Department are preparing for Black Wednesday, the busiest drunk driving night of the year. We have received a grant for traffic enforcement and we will be adding police patrols specifically targeting drunk driving. In addition, Hammond City Court Judge Jeffrey Harkin has raised the bond to $2000.00 cash for anyone arrested for driving while intoxicated. Arraignment will be Monday morning (December 2, 2013) following the holiday.
It’s my hope that by announcing these patrols and making our presence known, we will deter people from driving drunk. Please plan your partying with safety in mind. Always use a designated driver, and if that fails call a friend or a cab.
When we pull you over… You better be sober…
Chief Brian Miller
Yadira Ramirez is a 15 year old missing juvenile. She was last seen at Gavit High school last week (Nov 13). We believe that she ran away to be with her 18 year old boyfriend. The two teens may be staying in the area of 171st and Columbia Ave. If you see her please call the Hammond Police Department at (219) 853-6490.
Lieutenant Patrick Vicari (Supervisor, Hammond Police Department Traffic Division) asked me to pass this news out on my blog.
The Hammond Police Department recently was awarded a grant through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to reduce the number of pedestrian and bicycle crashes in the city. This is in response to a number of pedestrian/bicycle crashes with motor vehicles, most notably the crash that occurred on Calumet Avenue that resulted in the death of a 13 year old Hammond boy. Officers will be conducting increased enforcement of pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle laws. Although the initial focus will be near public schools both before and after, enforcement will not be limited to just students. We are encouraging pedestrians to use sidewalks, crosswalks and obey traffic control signals. We are also encouraging motorists to be mindful of our school zones, watch for pedestrians, and our school crossing guards.
Very soon, we will be traveling to our various schools and insuring adults and juveniles are crossing the street at the provided crosswalks. The School City of Hammond will be sending out a letter to students parents/guardians explaining our upcoming enforcement action.
Please drive safely, especially around our schools.
Chief Brian Miller
I have worked with the STOPS team on several occasions now and can honestly say I’m very impressed. In August, we created a full-time task force with police officers from Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, Lake County, and part time officers from other Lake County cities and towns. We work primarily in Gary, Hammond and East Chicago, but also in the suburbs. The impact of 12 to 15 police officers working in a problem area is dramatic. This unit has made many good arrests to include the Hessville cell-phone bandits. The team has also confiscated numerous guns and drugs. Last night they arrested, two previously convicted felons, carrying handguns with extended magazines. These subjects were affiliated with a criminal gang, and it’ll be interesting to see if bullets from these guns match any homicides or shooting (we test all confiscated guns).
This task force was the idea of Chief Mark Becker of East Chicago who I think very highly of. I’m glad the Hammond Police Department is part of it and I’m fortunate that I’m able to work with STOPS on occasion. It’s created permanent friendships among the officers from different departments and we all profit by seeing how area police agencies handle respective crime problems.
Chief Brian Miller
The three suspects responsible for Saturday’s armed robbery of two Hammond Sanitation workers have been charged by the Lake County Prosecutor’s Office. Alfonso Juan Calderon age 20, Rafael Calderon age 21, and Raymond Rivera age 23 have all been charged with 2 counts of “B” felony robbery. In addition, Rivera was charged with one count of “D” Felony Pointing a Firearm and one count of “D” Criminal Recklessness. All three have been transported to the Lake County Jail. The three suspects accosted 2 sanitation workers who were picking up garbage in an alley (500 Chicago Ave.) and demanded their wallets and cellphones. One of the suspects struck a sanitation worker in the face, and Raymond Rivera allegedly fired his pistol in the direction of a female driver who was attempting to drive around the garbage truck during the robbery. The bullet did not strike the female or her car.
Two suspect have been charged with the cellphone robberies that had plagued Hessville. Vincent Alexander Fayson age 17 4500 23rd Ct. Gary Indiana and Tavaras Rashad Tolliver age 17 4500 24th St. Gary, IN. were both charged with 2 counts of armed robbery. The suspects were arrested Wednesday evening at about 8pm. Two cellphones from a recent robbery and a silver revolver was recovered during the arrest.
Although juveniles, they were waived to adult court. We will continue to look at similar robberies that occurred in East Chicago, Gary and Merrillville to determine if these subjects were involved.
Good news!!!! We arrested two suspects tonight in the Hessville cell phone robberies. Tonight, at about 5:15pm two juveniles were robbed of their cellphones at gunpoint. The incident occurred at 173rd and Grand. Hammond Police Detectives aided by officers from the Northwest Indiana STOPS Team, captured two 17 year old Gary males at an apartment complex 4500 23rd Court in Gary. The stolen cell phones taken from the victims were recovered along with the gun used in the incident. These two are believed to be responsible for 4 or 5 other robberies in Hammond and possibly more robberies in East Chicago and Merrillville.
Chief Brian Miller
We have had four similar robberies in the Hessville area. One on Friday, two on Saturday, one on Sunday. The two on Saturday were committed by same suspects. Friday’s incidents and Sunday’s incidents are being examined to see if there is a link to the other two. The victims have been juveniles and the suspects have taken cell phones and money from the victims. The robberies have occurred between 4pm – 8pm, two or three suspects are possibly involved and have been described as blk male subjects in their late teens. The suspects are wearing dark hoodie type sweatshirts (one had a gray sweatshirt) and face masks. One of the suspects had a silver colored handgun. There may be a dark colored Dodge Caravan involved. Residents are encouraged to call the police immediately if they witness something suspicious.
New Police Officers
On Thursday August 8, 2013 The Hammond Police Department hired four new police officers. All four are current sworn police officers that were serving on different departments.
Officer Gabriel Nava #586 formerly of the East Chicago Police Department
Officer Michael Rivera #584 formerly of the East Chicago Police Department
Officer Thomas Uszakow #587 formerly of the Munster Police Department
Officer Albert Hulitt #585 formerly of the Gary Police Department
We are very fortunate to have four highly recommended new additions to our police department. Each officer comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience. You will see them in our Field Officer Training Program in the next few weeks.
I wish them all a very safe and happy career.
Chief Brian Miller
The Hammond Police Department conducted another prostitution sting on Wednesday August 14, 2013. In the early evening hours five young ladies were “stung” by our gang unit. We cruised the downtown Hammond area in an unmarked car and waited for the ladies to flag our undercover officer down. Sergeant Robert Cobb played the part of the hopeful customer.
The arrested are:
Alexis Hudson age 27 of Hammond. Hudson was also arrested on two previous occasions this summer for prostitution (6-19-13) and obstruction of traffic (7-11-13).
Donether Barnes-Brooks age 54 of Hammond. Prostitution
Giselle Ortiz age 47 from Rensselaer charged with obstruction of traffic prostitution related
Heidi Mason age 35 of Cal Park Prostitution
Tamu House age 37 of Hammond Prostitution
All suspects named in this blog are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.