Ballard talks about demotions, investigation
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard answered questions about the demotions of three supervisors in the Officer David Bisard accident investigation on Eyewitness News at 6 Saturday evening. Following is a transcript of that interview:
Steve Jefferson: Will we see any more personnel changes at IMPD?
Mayor Ballard: "We don't know. The investigation has to continue. We knew what happened at the scene for this bit of it, but the investigation always takes time. We want to make sure it's thorough. The FBI is involved and we need to make sure it is correct."
Jefferson: Let's talk about the new public safety director Dr. Frank Straub and the new Police Chief Paul Ciesielski. Do you have confidence in them?
Ballard: "Absolutely. This is part of the reform, actually. This is about cleaning some things up. We need to look at all the policies and procedures at the police department. That's going to happen. We need to look at our training curriculum. That's been going on for months now, so all of this has been ongoing. I mean, the Officer Bisard crash, obviously, is a tragic accident. I guess I say it repeatedly, but the families and what they're feeling right now, it's difficult.
"It's difficult. I tried to see one today, but with the privacy things going on with them and the difficulty surrounding that, I wasn't able to. You can say you're sorry, but it doesn't really cover, frankly."
Jefferson: You have taken a lot of hits lately, some of your political opponents have also come up with some criticism. Is today's developments, the demotions, is this a move to save your political career?
Ballard: "This has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with politics. I don't listen to that. This is about the public's confidence in the police department, about getting the job done.
"Unfortunately, this overshadows all the good things that have been happening this year. Violent crime is pretty well down, but that doesn't matter at the moment. I mean, it does matter, certainly in the neighborhoods, but people are concerned about public confidence in the police department and that's going to be a restoration project that's going to take some time. So while we continue to drive down violent crime, and I'm confident we will, we need to make sure the public has a good opinion of their police department. So I don't even think of the political side of this, that's not relevant."
Jefferson: How do you win back public opinion in favor of the police department? Because this is a move you made and campaigned on as well.
Ballard: "It's a matter of public trust. It's a matter of time. That's what its going to take, a series of actions. We always know there's going to be a couple bad apples in an organization with 1,700 people, I think people understand that, but what happens routinely is what we're concerned about and there's more things out there, frankly. I'm sure we'll find them, we'll be open about them, transparent about them and we'll correct them as we go. But there's a larger reform measure going on that I'm sure you'll see manifest itself through the economy."