FOP says IMPD losing officers at an alarming rate
The union that represents Indianapolis Metro police officers says there may soon not be enough of them on our city streets.
The Fraternal Order of Police says the department is losing officers at an alarming rate. There are currently 1,546 IMPD officers, but due to resignations and retirements, the department will soon lose 70 of those officers.
The FOP believes even if the city changed the budget to hire more officers today, it would still be a game of catch-up to help relieve a department stressed out with so many police runs every day.
Indianapolis mother Johanna McGhehey spoke with Eyewitness News after picking her four-year-old son, Connor, up from school. She says public safety is among the top concerns for her and her child.
"Education, public safety and the arts. If you have the education and then it's going to fall into the public safety, because people are going to care about where they live," she said.
But every year, IMPD loses an average of 50 officers through attrition, the FOP says, a far cry from new recruits.
Right now, officers across the district are answering calls non-stop, whether it's personal injury accidents or more serious crimes.
FOP President Bill Owensby worries it could take years just to get the city's police force up to speed.
"Right now, we are screaming for people, so unless you figure out a way to increase the numbers, we will continuously go, 'We don't have anybody, we don't have anybody, we don't have anybody'," Owensby said.
Owensby's other concern is how the city can repeat the safety level hosting another Super Bowl, because of the officers IMPD will lose between now and then.
"Right now, we can accurately predict we are going to be 200-300 officers short in 2018 above what we had in 2012 for the Super Bowl," he said.
Despite losing dozens of officers by the year, McGhehey still wants to see police "more visible, more active," so she and her little Connor can walk in their neighborhood crime-free.
When the City-County Council voted down the mayor's budget, which included two new recruit classes, the mayor responded with even more police cuts.
The mayor's spokesperson Marc Lotter says the only good news is, they have another month to agree on a public safety budget.
"We are restructuring how we use our resources and sworn officers in the department," said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. "Our efficiency team is also streamlining our department budget to use those monies the best we can and to make sure our officers have the tools they need to fight crime."