INDIANAPOLIS — It’s official. More money than ever is going toward addressing violent crime and the causes of that crime. The Indianapolis City-County Council voted to pass the 2022 budget during Monday’s meeting.
The money from the budget helps IMPD to continue their body camera program, increase road funding and additional resources for staffing and programming at the Community Justice Center.
“It helps reduce recidivism rates,” said Lauren Rodriguez, director of the Office of Public Health & Safety. “If we can get to those individuals while they’re in custody to figure out what was the issues that led them to being incarcerated.”
Money from the American Rescue Plan will also increase the city’s peacemakers program from 10 people to 50. OPHS said this team, in partnership with the Indianapolis Public Safety Foundation’s violence interrupters, have intervened in 600 situations so far this year.
“I can’t tell you that’s 600 shootings that we would have stopped,” Rodriguez said. “But I can tell you that it could have led to 600 shootings or less, but we’ve been able to interrupt violence as it occurs or as it’s about to occur.”
Along with the $1.35 billion budget, the Hogsett Administration is putting $150 million toward anti-violence efforts. This includes hiring 100 new IMPD officers, $9 million in law enforcement technology, $45 million in grants for grassroots organizations focused on anti-crime efforts, $30 million for mental health programming and money for job training and food access.
“So we’re making a lot of big financial investments this year,” Councilor Michael-Paul Hart said. “A lot of things from a nonprofit perspective, police perspective, where they could do very good things but we have to keep a watchful eye on that.”
The budget passed the city-county council 23-1. District 4 Councilor Ethan Evans was the only no vote, saying he thinks city leaders need to move faster toward solutions.
“We should be looking towards other successful models in other cities for ending homelessness and creating affordable housing and ensuring successful treatment for people with mental illnesses and substance addiction issues,” Evans said during the meeting.
The mayor’s office sent a release saying the 2022 budget was the last of five major components to Mayor Hogsett’s comprehensive fiscal plan announced on Aug. 9. The plan includes:
- A three-year strategy for the distribution of $419 million in federal American Rescue Plan funding,
- Bond issuances worth nearly $170 million for the first phase of Circle City Forward, for new municipal facilities and public space improvements
- A $25 million allocation for the third phase of Circle City Forward, to design and enhance trails and greenways throughout the city
- More than $91 million in rental assistance funding from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, to increase tenants’ eligible benefits from three to 12 months of rent
- The 2022 Consolidated City of Indianapolis-Marion County operating budget