Hogsett: Multi-million dollar public safety effort includes funding for domestic violence reduction, juvenile intervention

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INDIANAPOLIS — Local leaders announced a more than $3 million investment to address public safety in Indianapolis. It’s part of the effort to combat the rise in homicides and non-fatal shootings in what is shaping to be the deadliest year on record in the city’s history.

According to the administration, this is “the result of nearly a year’s worth of engagement with national best practices and community stakeholders.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett laid forth how some of the investment will be spent:

  • $370,000 towards domestic violence reduction
  • $350,000 toward boosted mental health infrastructure
  • $390,000 toward juvenile intervention
  • $680,000 to expand staffing on community justice center staffing

“Instead of only being focused on juvenile detention, we’re investing a lot of money into juvenile intervention so these young people never give up,” said city-county councilman Leroy Robinson.

“I’m really pleased to hear we’re going to laser focus on trauma and mental health because the majority of our problems are psychological,” said pastor Darryl Webster.

The mayor also suggests spending an additional $1.5 million to help IMPD enhance their intelligence work, upgrade technology, increase their data collection staff and improve accountability.

“While we can’t snap our fingers and stop the violence, I believe these changes represent important progress to keeping the community safe,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.

Along with the public safety investment, there will be a focus on working to dispel mistrust between police and communities of color, according to Mayor Hogsett.

“Accountability will form the basis of that trust,” said Hogsett. That includes an early detection system to identify IMPD officers not following protocol.

Hogsett said he acknowledges and recognizes that “these investments do not represent a magic wand that will suddenly defeat the challenges we face.”

He credited a large part of the violence and tension surrounding Indianapolis to two things. One being the city and IMPD have a long way to go to “earn the trust of every resident.” The other was the pandemic contributing to a sense of heightened stress and providing resources to help combat that stress.

Lauren Rodriguez, the director of the Office Public Health and Safety, says the investment will go a long way toward helping victims of domestic violence, which includes establishing a domestic violence interrupters program.

“This investment will make possible a more active, direct approach to help individuals escape abusive relationships.”

Chief Taylor said the funding will help IMPD analyze and assess data, but he also once again stressed that IMPD “cannot stop violence by themselves.”

Hogsett echoed the sentiment.

“I hope that residents also look to each other for solutions and support,” said the mayor. “Even the best funded city program cannot reach everyone. Even the most appropriate mental health commitment will take time.”

The mayor admits the changes won’t stop every homicide, but he does hope it slows the record-breaking numbers.

“How do we assess and judge the success of these investments? I hope the number of gun violence go down. I’m confident that they will,” said Hogsett.

City-county council Republicans released the following statement following the announcement:

We are still digesting these proposals. Unfortunately, after a quick reading, much of what was announced today seems to be throwing more money at some of the same programs that clearly are not working. If the Mayor and Council Democrats want to get serious about reducing the historic levels of violent crime in Indianapolis, it is time we get all interested parties to the table to begin to work on a solution.

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