How to fund hundreds of new officers? Commission is one step closer

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The IMPD staffing study commission reached a tentative consensus Tuesday evening on how to get hundreds of new officers on the streets of Indianapolis.

The commission was formed in November of 2013, to determine how many new officers Indianapolis needs, and how to fund them long-term.

Tuesday, members came to a tentative agreement.

The city is already planning to hire 80 new officers this year.

Under the staffing commission’s proposal, the city would hire 100 new police officers each year, through 2018. After that, they’d be able to hire enough officers to replace those who leave each year, or to sustain the numbers.

Overall, with attrition, IMPD would go from around 1,513 officers on the force, to around 1797 in 2018 and beyond.

“The key thing to do here is to make sure we identify sustainable funds, because if you hire hundreds of officers, you need to make sure they will be there for there for the long term. The most important outcome, I think, out of this commission, is that we can have a force based on community oriented policing,” said John Barth, City County Councillor.

To fund those officers, commission members are looking at a number of sources.

Their latest proposal would include eliminating the homestead tax credit incrementally over the next four years, and increasing the public safety tax.

That would mean a $75 dollar increase for those homeowners who make $50,000 a year.

They’re also looking at a COPS grant, which could fund 10 new officers every year, for three years.

Another funding mechanism? Charging for policing services at special events.

All ways, commission members say, could fund more officers on the streets.

“If you have more officers, you have more opportunity to get into your middle schools, get into your high schools, get involved with those kids, and keep them away from the elements that are not good for them,” said Mary Moriarty Adams, Commission Chair and City County Councillor.

IMPD assistant chief Lloyd Crowe says they’re losing officers faster than people realize. He says they’re down 80 officers from this time last year. Already, they’ve lost 25 officers this year to retirement or separation.

“We have been losing more than that, and I think the longer we go without a regular recruiting effort, or a regular hiring effort, the larger that number is going to grow,” said Crowe.

The commission will need to finalize their recommendation.

They hope to vote on a final plan next time they meet, on April 28.

The recommendation will be passed on to the full council.

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