INDIANAPOLIS — At a ballpark figure of $261 million, IMPD’s proposed 2021 budget eats up nearly 30% of Indianapolis’ municipal spending plan for 2021.
Wednesday night, City-County councilors will hold a public hearing on the proposed budget that includes a $7.7 million increase over last year.
The addition of body worn cameras, dash cams, new police vehicles and enhanced computer aided dispatch and video surveillance systems account for some of the increase.
“Public safety is always expensive,” said Republican Councilman Paul Annee of the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee, “but when you take a look at what’s going on around the country, what’s going on here around Indianapolis, it has to be that way.”
Social justice protests this spring that gave way to rioting led to calls to “defund the police” in Indianapolis.
“If you take a look at the budget that IMPD is proposing, they’re not taking any cut, they’re getting some additional funding, so, it’s very important. We have to continue to fund public safety,” said Annee. “We have to make an investment in public safety. Indianapolis can’t defund the police, we can’t defund public safety, and it looks like we’re not going to in 2021.”
The Council’s Democrat led majority has already said it will not cut IMPD’s budget.
Mat Davis of the Indiana Racial Justice Alliance told FOX59 that the proposed budget doesn’t account for what he called “reconciliation or reckoning” for past IMPD actions that include two fatal officer involved shootings in May and offers “no critical dialog” on changing police behavior toward the community.
Mayor Joe Hogsett recognized calls for more crime prevention and social service program spending in the proposed budget while he was also directing IMPD to rewrite its use of force policies and training.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Annee. “You can’t say you want accountability but also defund the police. That’s the investment we’re talking about. You take a look at body cameras, you take a look at some training enhancements and things, you have to fund and invest in the training and gear and whatnot that we’re looking at in 2021 to increase accountability for the public and for the police themselves.”