Indianapolis police detain a suspect as part of Operation First Step on June 18, 2016.
Indy Star screenshot

More than 150 officers from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department conducted a massive sweep through several of the city's neighborhoods Saturday as part of the largest tactical operation in its history, IndyStar reports.

The operation, dubbed Operation First Step, aims to remove some of the most violent offenders and those with a propensity for violence from the city's streets. The officers targeted areas frequented by drug dealers, searching for individuals with open warrants or parole violation. Officers also apprehended individuals who police think may know things that could help detectives crack open cases.

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“This is not a blanket sweep,” IMPD Chief Troy Riggs told the site. “This is about making quality arrests."

At the close of Saturday, officers had arrested some 26 people and had seized four handguns, 13 grams of heroin, 8.5 grams of cocaine and marijuana, $3,500 in cash, and three cars, the IndyStar notes. Officers also disrupted a marijuana-growing operation in the basement of an East Side home and took down a bootlegger, seizing 92 bottles of gin, 23 bottles of vodka and 182 cans of beer, authorities said.

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According to the report, each warrant team consisted of 15-20 officers, and the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and other city agencies also assisted in the operation. Members of the clergy were also on hand to comfort the families of those arrested.

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The IndyStar reports that earlier this year, in January, Riggs and Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke about their plans to curb violence in the city, referencing a list of some 1,400 people with outstanding warrants related to assault and/or weapons violations. It is not clear, the news site notes, if Saturday's sweep was connected to the list.

In the meantime, the department's homicide detectives are continuing to make arrests in recent killings in a city that saw 144 murders last year—making it the city's deadliest year, according to the report.

The plan also calls for stronger community policing in order to improve the relationship between the authorities and members of the community. On Monday, officers are expected to return to the neighborhoods.

The operation was said to be finished, but increased police presence is to be expected as officers follow up on leads gathered Saturday. In addition, officers intend to talk to residents to ask for feedback about the operation, IndyStar notes.

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