Radio campaign to promote public safety plan

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A push to add police officers is about to get a boost in Indianapolis. It can be heard on local radio stations, starting Thursday.

Mayor Greg Ballard will launch a new radio campaign for his public safety plan. He has been trying to do it one way. Council Democrats have had a different idea.

The council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee has approved a tax increase to pay for more police officers. But, it blocked the Mayor’s call for an end to the county’s Homestead Tax Credit. Several weeks ago, they separated those parts of Ballard’s plan.

Ending the credit would help the city pay for pre-kindergarten education in Indianapolis.

“All the studies are very, very clear,” Ballard said, “that particularly at-risk kids who have good pre-k education lead a better life and more successful life and those that don’t tend to go the wrong way.”

So, he sees the two parts of his proposal as natural elements in his public safety campaign.

“We just can’t police our way out of this any more,” he told 24-Hour News 8.

Democrat Frank Mascari, a member of the City County Council, isn’t convinced that Pre-K is part of public safety.

“It’s yet to be seen. They’re trying to get children very, very young and, hopefully, in 20 or 30 years, they won’t commit some of the crimes they’re committing.”

He agrees with Mayor Ballard, though, that only adding police officers won’t solve the city’s crime problem.

“No, I don’t think it’s going to solve the whole problem. But we need as many officers out there as we can — just to protect the officers themselves.”

Next week, Mayor Ballard will re-introduce the Homestead Credit proposal. State rules require that the proposal be passed by September 22 in order for it to take effect on January 1.

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