Councilman to switch vote on police merger issue

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Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis, Dec. 13 - Last month, one Democrat on the Indianapolis City-County Council voted with Republicans, stopping the Indianapolis Police Department and Marion County Sheriff's Department merger in a 15-14 vote.

Republican Scott Keller, a 'no' vote last time, says this time he'll support the police merger, giving it the one vote it needs to pass. "What's changed is the number of people who've approached me and said, 'Look, it's now or never and we need to revisit this.'"

Republican colleague Jim Bradford is furious. He accuses Keller of selling out, agreeing to vote for consolidation as long as Council President Steve Talley agreed to vote for a proposal banning discrimination against gays and lesbians. "I think Scott Keller and Steve Talley swapped votes to get what they wanted to get done, and it's absolutely wrong."

They are charges both men call ridiculous.

Keller says, "Jim's a passionate guy. He'll calm down."

Talley considers it "sour grapes and it's unfortunate Jim would take that attitude."

Talley credits his change of heart to several small group meetings with gays and lesbians. "I always knew there was discrimination, but did not know it rose to the level where it ought to be written into law."

Talley wants the council to vote on both issues at a special meeting Monday.

Bradford wants Keller to do more than that. "There will be more times there's swapping votes and that's why I've asked Scott Keller to resign as a Republican and be the Democrat he is and get over it. I'm never going to be in the caucus with him ever again. I'm done with it."

Keller says he won't be jumping fence. "We've been Republicans since 1860 and we're staying that way."