IMPD officer agrees with need for more officers on streets

IMPD Ofc. Frank Miller
Mayor Greg Ballard says when it comes to solving crime, the city's police force is on it, but needs more help.

Hours after the mayor said IMPD's officers need more manpower on the streets Wednesday, officers on the Southeast District's middle shift got their marching orders and headed out the door.

"My badge says Indianapolis police officer and I'm proud of that and I'll do whatever I'm asked to do," said Ofc. Frank Miller.

For the 14-year IMPD veteran, that means patrolling the streets again after years of detective work because of a need for more officers on the streets.

"Most days, we're running run to run to run because of the manpower shortage, so based on that, you're taking out the time to be pro-active," Miller said.

Miller has been involved in two shootings in his career, one where fellow officer was shot.

"I got grazed on the back of the left leg and I was the one that exchanged gunfire with that guy," he said.

Four months after that incident, he was shot again.

"A guy pulled a gun on me on a loud music run," Miller said.

He won't argue with the need for more police.

"There's safety in numbers," he said.

But he will debate the number of officers needed.

"We'll need maybe five, six hundred, realistically, but I'll take 280. I'll take whoever they want to give me, because it will hopefully make it safer for guys out here to police effectively," Miller said.

He says the mayor's proposal to hire 280 more police officers will just replenish the ranks as other officers retire - not add many more officers to the streets.

"It's going to take cranking out class after class just to catch up," he said.

Miller knows other numbers are at stake, too.

"Nobody wants to pay more tax," Miller said of the dollars and cents it will cost taxpayers to pay for more police officers with an increased public safety tax.

"In the climate of this day and age, what can we do?" he asked.

It's a question with no easy answers. The best solution is dependent on who you ask.

For the men and women out there doing the job, though, the answer is cut and dry.

"We all want more officers on the streets. We want more back up," Miller said.

The proposal still has to go to the City-County Council, but if they're going to fund it the way Mayor Ballard has laid out, state law says they would have to vote on it by the end of September.