Proposal asks charities to pay for police

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Charitable organizations could soon be called upon to help provide police presence in Indianapolis if an idea proposed to the city-county council were to become reality.

On Monday, council president Maggie Lewis said the “rules and public policy committee” would start considering a suggestion made by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s staffing commission to have non-profit organizations pay for officers utilized during fundraising events.

Paying IMPD for its service during events would be voluntary and the money provided could be saved to fund employing more police in the long run, Lewis said.

“At this point, everything is on the table. We need to have that conversation and we want to be a partner with the mayor. Come together and come up with some type of agreement on how we address crime in our city,” Lewis said.

Questions have been quick to form within non-profit organizations. The executive director for the Indianapolis chapter of the American Diabetes Association, Jennifer Pferrer said 501(c)(3) organizations are federally restricted by the way dollars are used.

“When a donor makes a financial contribution to an organization, they are really funding the mission of the organization. They are not funding public safety,” Pferrer said.

As far as event safety is concerned, Pferrer said the ADA and other groups already pay fees required to keep participants safe.

“We have been impacted by events like the State Fair stage collapse that we have to fork over some additional dollars to support the permit process that is now in place,” she said.

Lewis, the director of a non-profit herself said she understands organizations are strapped for cash, and stressed leaders are interested in hearing more ideas on how to protect the city.

“I understand we have very small budgets. [We are] not wanting to do anything to hurt any organization but what to have that conversation,” Lewis said.

The committee was expected to discuss the idea ahead of bringing it in front of council again in early August.

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