With fewer cops, Gary preacher conducts own nighttime patrols

With fewer cops, Gary preacher conducts own nighttime patrols
Apostle Marvin East, a Gary preacher, conducts his own nighttime patrols because he says the city’s police department is understaffed. WBEZ/Michael Puente
With fewer cops, Gary preacher conducts own nighttime patrols
Apostle Marvin East, a Gary preacher, conducts his own nighttime patrols because he says the city’s police department is understaffed. WBEZ/Michael Puente

With fewer cops, Gary preacher conducts own nighttime patrols

It’s been a challenging year for Gary, Indiana.

Crime is a constant problem and its police force is undermanned because of budget constraints. That’s left some some neighborhoods feeling vulnerable.

But one local preacher is doing whatever it takes to protect his neighbors — even if it means staying up all night.

Apostle Marvin East lives in Gary’s Marshalltown Terrace. The truck driver-turned-preacher says there aren’t enough cops to patrol the neighborhood overnight.

So he does it himself.

“What community can operate without police presence?” Apostle East asks. “I would love to be in bed [at night] but once this community goes backward you’ll never get it back.”

More than 20 police officers have left the Gary Police department this year, many for better paying jobs elsewhere. A Department spokeswoman says the city is trying to boost pay and hire new recruits to beef up patrols.

In the meantime, Apostle East says it’s up to him to protect those who still call Marshalltown Terrace home, including his own mother.