Proposal aims to hire more police officers than mayor’s plan

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 3, 2014) - City-County Council democrats are drafting a proposal that would hire 155 new police officers in 2015. Council leadership is working on an $11.8 million package that would use money generated through the new public safety tax.

The proposal will also allocate funds to purchase 75 new police vehicles. Capital improvement investments of $1.5 million would be used for the police academy and $1 million for the IMPD firing range.

“We need to bring our attention back to public safety. The community supported us in raising this public safety tax and we want to ensure the officers have the tools they need to be successful,” said City-County Council President Maggie Lewis.

Lewis said she is trying to gain bi-partisan support for the measure and is currently looking for co-sponsors. It is expected to be introduced during the February 9 council meeting.

The number of officers included in the new council proposal conflicts with Mayor Greg Ballard’s plan. Last month, Ballard announced the city would hire 115 officers, 25 more than originally expected.

Even after hiring 115 officers millions would still be left over. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said Ballard is still considering the possibility of using any remaining public safety tax funds to pay back the $6.8 million loan from the fiscal stability fund that was used to hire additional IMPD officers in 2014.

“It’s something that we’d like to have a little bit of time to analyze and also really look at the impact of this, short term impact and long term impact for IMPD,” said Jen Pittman, spokesperson for Mayor Ballard.

Council members on both side of the aisle have been outspoken about using the new tax revenue to pay back the loan.

“We think it’s a better investment upfront to make sure we have more officers on the street quicker and then we can work throughout to year to identify savings that will repay the fiscal stability fund,” said City County Council Vice President John Barth.

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