City leaders looking for funding for witness assistance

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - City leaders say they're working to get more resources to help crime witnesses in Indianapolis, in hopes there's more cooperation that can help solve crime.

City County Councilor Stephen Clay says there's no line item in the budget specifically for the issue, so right now folks are working behind the scenes to see if they can get more funding for it.

The effort is welcoming news for Alicia Zimmer.

"I deal with not having the answers and not knowing of what happened to my child and why? Because people are too scared to speak," she said.

Her daughter, Kayla Goggins, was 18 years old when police say she was fatally shot after a group of teens met up and got into a fight.

Officers arrested a 14-year-old afterwards, but Marion County prosecutors say charges weren't filed.

Zimmer says she was told there was a lack of evidence and witness cooperation.

"People would change their stories, didn't show up for their depositions, you know, just backed out completely. I don't know whether it's due to they were scared of retaliation or you know just didn't want to be involved at all after they thought about it," Zimmer said.

It's fear Clay says people tell him is the reason they won't come forward with information on crimes. He says he brought it up during budget season.

"Well in that moment it was received but it didn't get any traction and so here we are now looking at it in a more substantive and more holistic kind of way," Clay said.

Police and prosecutors said they're working to get more resources.

"We're looking to provide resources to people who are witnesses to crime. What can we do to assist people to help people who are witnesses of crime, so maybe we don't put them in difficult positions," Ryan Mears, chief trial deputy in the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, said.

But Clay says they need appropriated dollars, too. He says his looking at the budget to see where money can be used.

"My hope is that we're doing this before, in the next several days or so because I have the sense that the message has been heard, and that the message has been received and that the money is forthcoming," Clay said.

Police and councilors say they're also researching what some other major cities do.

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