INDIANAPOLIS — 30 new recruits and six veteran lateral transfer officers will graduate the IMPD Training Academy August 19 and hit the streets in the following days in an attempt to alleviate the chronic shortage of patrol officers that’s plagued the city’s police department for several years.
IMPD typically graduates a class of more than 50.
Despite the dwindling numbers, IMPD Training Academy Deputy Chief Catherine Cummings said she’s grateful for those who have signed up to serve their community.
”I’m happy to have those 30,” she said. “We have not lowered any of our requirements to join the police department. I am optimistic that those levels will return to 60-70-80 for a class.”
So is Mayor Joe Hogsett who has boosted IMPD’s proposed 2023 budget by seven percent to $313 million which will include record pay for first year officers.
“What we are offering new recruits to IMPD is approximately $72,000 and, as such, that makes the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department one of the top paying police departments for new recruits anywhere in the Midwest,” said the mayor.
Included in that budget are funds to pay for a marketing campaign that will stretch from Louisville to Cincinnati to Chicago to St. Louis in an attempt to convince big city officers from other states to relocate to Indianapolis.
One of the current lateral transfers about to graduate the academy is a former NYPD officer.
IMPD will pay for enhanced technology and nearly 300 new police cars in the coming year as the current administration promises to lobby for pension reform at the Indiana General Assembly to encourage mid-career veteran officers to stay on the job past their twenty-year mark.
The average age of the IMPD officer corps is 46.
Hogsett has proposed enough spending to employ 1,843 officers.
IMPD’s current manpower is 1,604.
Another class of 30 recruits is set to begin training September 2nd while hundreds of applicants will undergo written and physical fitness testing at the Academy this week in hopes of landing a slot in a spring 2023 recruit class.
Applicants told CBS4 News that the inherent risks of the job, which include lawsuits, criminal charges or risk of violence on the job, were not enough to deter them from pursing their law enforcement dreams.
”To be honest, I’m not afraid of that because I want to see that change that people want to see in the police department,” said Kevin Villagran who’s delivered mail on the city’s westside for six years, “and as people begin to see that change, people will change their mentality about police officers and I want to be that change.”
”With me being bilingual, I think it will be helpful for the community,” said Erika Suarez who looks to leave her career in Community Correction and Probation services to become a police officer, “so I can be able to talk to the Hispanic community a little bit better and they actually aren’t scared of officers.”
IMPD Chief Randall Taylor began his remarks at the Training Academy by sending his prayers out to a Richmond police officer who was shot in the line of duty Wednesday night.
”Those people who put on this badge understand what they’re getting into and we train them the best we can to make sure that they stay safe,” he said, “but you know evil exists and we’re one of those barriers between evil and the community.”