UPDATE (Aug. 31, 2017)-- Marion County Sheriff John Layton says arrestee transport and hospital services will continue until Jan. 1, 2018. Read more here.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett unveiled his 2018 budget to the City-County Council Monday night, touting a focus on infrastructure and public safety. But just two hours before presenting his budget, the sheriff's office announced cuts of its own, including closing the Arrestee Processing Center.
The mayor's budget includes more than an additional $13 million to IMPD, but cuts more than $600,000 from the sheriff's department.
Sheriff Layton sent a memo to law enforcement agencies announcing the cuts it says are not mandated obligations of the sheriff's department.
"Over the past few years, the MCSO has been hampered by declining revenues and personnel challenges. About 6 months ago, as we faced the stark reality of the 2017 and 2018 budgets, we began seriously reviewing all options to reduce spending, focus our resources on responsibilities mandated to the Sheriff and stem the tide of attrition and escalating overtime expenditures. The current situation has forced us to make difficult decisions," Sheriff Layton wrote.
The sheriff said the department will also no longer transport arrestees from the arrest site or provide security while inmates are housed at Marion County hospitals.
The sheriff said it will also close the Arrestee Processing Center. The APC is where inmates go for processing before they are sent to the county jail. Marion Superior Courts are already leaving the APC Sept. 24.
That’s the same date the sheriff is expecting the cuts to take effect.
"I think there might be opportunities to save more dollars for our taxpayers and citizens and by moving that function to IMPD so I look forward to engaging with him on conversations during the budget process" city controller Fady Qaddoura said.
The mayor's office said Mayor Hogsett hadn't heard about the sheriff's announcement before his presentation and had no comment. Other councilors shared their reactions as they read the memo.
"The sheriff's department has a bloated budget in many's opinion but the sheriff only has a few specific duties. One of those is taking care of arrestees so I'm hopeful that he'll find a way to continue to do all the things he needs to do ," Councilor Michael McQuillen said.
"Primarily the big concern for neighborhoods is if IMPD is now invovled in the transporting of arrestees, that takes them off the street and makes them unavailable to do basic neighborhood engagements," Councilor Zach Adamson said.
IMPD said it transported people before, and will make it work.
"We've had discussions with the sheriff as early as the first part of last year about transport and their issues and the APC, wagons and so I think we'll continue those conversations," IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said.
The Fraternal Order of Police in Indianapolis issued this statement:
"We learned late yesterday of the announcement of the Marion County Sheriff regarding arrestee transportation and other public safety responsibilities.
"While we have concerns about the narrow timeline proposed for such a transition, we have confidence in the ability of the IMPD Chief of Police to manage the situation.
"In the interim, a thorough review of the resources and assets needed for such a transition should be explored especially as it relates to the ripple effects placed upon IMPD and other local law enforcement agencies related to staffing, resources and equipment.
"This should include an analysis of any such budgetary allocations, equipment transfers and personnel equivalents made to the Sheriff's Department when they assumed these responsibilities as part of the merger in 2007."
Taylor Schaffer, Communications Director for Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, issued this statement:
“The Sheriff’s Office and IMPD have been talking for some time about shifting these law enforcement duties back to the City, and we look forward to sharing those plans with the Council. We're confident that IMPD, under the leadership of Chief Roach, will be able to seamlessly take over these functions – likely saving taxpayer dollars in the process.”
Roach said with the mayor's budget, it will be the first time in a long time his department can plan class sizes.
The mayor's budget allocates $13 million more to IMPD, in part to help hire 86 new officers. The budget also funds initiatives for the Office of Public Health and Safety and sets aside $250,000 for community crime prevention grants.
The other major component of the mayor’s budget is infrastructure. It includes a four-year plan that will reportedly put more than $500 million into the community by 2021.
Mayor Hogsett also laid out a permanent housing solution for those experiencing homelessness as an administration priority and said they'll submit appropriations to the council to invest more than $1 million to help more than 600 Carrier employees.
“The budget I propose tonight is not only a balanced budget which eliminates the structural deficit it is a budget that increases investments in our neighborhoods, maintains positive fund balances, grows the fiscal stability fund and holds the line on spending,” Mayor Hogsett said to the city-county council.
The mayor said this is the first structurally balanced budget in a decade. While the city faced a deficit of more than $25 million last year, the most recent budget would leave the city with a surplus of more than $200,000.
“Together we can put our city on sound financial footing for the first time in a decade while once again making the kinds of strategic investments that will transform neighborhoods and keep our community safe. I know that it can happen because I’ve seen the work we can do when we block out the noise of partisanship and focus on what is best for our city,” Mayor Hogsett said.
“We’re willing to work for the next 60 days to help provide a bipartisan viewpoint but how you turn a $50 million deficit into a balanced budget is it’s gonna be interesting. We’re willing to work to make sure Indianapolis has a balanced budget for the next 60 days. It’s almost like a show me type of situation how this budget is really without raising taxes how it’s going to be balanced,” Marion County Republican chairman Sen. Jim Merritt said.
Next, the mayor's budget will be heard in committee meetings.