Council moves money to pay for more police officers

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A move by the Indianapolis City-County Council Monday night will put more police officers on the streets.

Violent crime in Indianapolis has jumped to its highest rate in nearly 30 years and the city's police department is short-staffed by more than 180 sworn officers. With no money for recruiting, the staffing levels looked to get worse, so the council decided to move some money around and get more officers on the street.

There is not much wiggle room in the Indianapolis city budget. In fact, most departments are being asked to cut their budgets. Monday night, the City-County Council chopped more than $1.5 million out of 11 departments, but several councilors said there is nothing more important than public safety and they needed to make that a priority.

So councilors approved the movement of $6 million into the IMPD budget. That money will go to recruiting, hiring and training 60 new police officers over the next two years.

The extra money came from the Rebuild Indy fund, money meant for infrastructure improvements, like roads, sidewalks and abandoned homes. So far, it is not clear how the loss of money from their fund will affect projects they have planned.

The Rebuild Indy program has been a top priority for the mayor and his administration, so it's possible he will veto the council's decision and the IMPD will be back where they started without the money for new officers.

The council also voted to give extra money to beautify the Lafayette Square area and to fund four new charter schools.