Funding options for more officers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In the wake of the death of Officer Perry Renn, the Department of Public Safety and the Fraternal Order of Police said Tuesday, now is the time to develop a plan of action.

According to IMPD, in the last 18 months, eight officers have been shot, two of them killed. Shots were fired at 22 more officers.

The plan of action, according to DPS and the FOP, includes longer mandatory minimum sentences for those who use a gun to commit crime.

It also includes more officers.

IMPD Chief Rick Hite says he wants IMPD to reach 1,750 officers, which would require hiring about 100 officers a year, for the next five years.

With attrition, that would mean an extra 250 officers on the streets, but at a cost of about $25 million.

To pay for those officers, the FOP suggests eliminating the homestead tax credit to bring in about $9 million. The rest, they say, could come from increasing the public safety tax, which would cost taxpayers $65 a year, who earn $50,000.

Whatever the solution, the FOP says the sooner, the better.

“And frankly our community should be mad as hell that one of our police officers was gunned down in this city. And that countless others are attacked, injured, and assaulted, more than two a week this year so far. It’s unacceptable,” said Rick Snyder, FOP Vice President.

Back in April, the bipartisan IMPD Staffing Study Commission came up with recommendations, that they passed to the city-county council. Councillors say that information is meant to help with the budget process. Those talks begin in August.

Mayor Ballard’s spokesperson Marc Lotter says the Mayor has been asking the Council for long-term funding to hire more police officers for three years, by eliminating the homestead tax credit. That was turned down by the council majority.

Lotter says the mayor is also working with state lawmakers for mandatory minimum prison sentences for criminals who use guns.

“We need prosecutors, judges, and the state to stop slapping criminals on the wrist and slamming the prison door shut when they’re using guns when committing their crimes,” said Marc Lotter, Mayor Greg Ballard’s spokesperson.

Some council members say they need to have a bipartisan discussion to come to an agreement, on how to fund officers.

“We need to take politics out of the equation, and focus on what’s really important for the city, and that’s getting more police. So the thing that needs to happen, is really a bipartisan discussion between the council and the mayor’s office, as to what that looks like,” said Council Democrat John Barth, who sponsored the resolution to create the IMPD study commission and served on the commission as well.

Another potential new funding revenue, according to the recommendations from the IMPD staffing commission report: a commuter income tax, that would ask those who commute into Marion County to contribute.

 

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