Proposed IMPD budget calls for 80 more officers on streets

Police officers packed Wednesday's meeting at the City-County Building.
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The battle is on over how much money is needed to fight crime in Indianapolis.

The call for more police on the streets comes with a price tag.

It was a packed house of IMPD officers, taxpayers and city leaders Wednesday night at the City-County Building. The crowd waited to hear what it was going to take to keep the streets of Indianapolis safe and how much it was going to cost.

"We need to make sure we're efficient. We need to make sure we're effective, but more importantly, we need to make sure we have revenues that sustain a police department's that's ever-growing," said IMPD Police Chief Rick Hite.

And it'll take $9 million more to grow the force by the 80 more police officers the new budget calls for over the next year. The new plan also calls for 45 new civilian hires, just part of the more than $187 million the proposed 2014 IMPD budget requests.

"We work with whatever the council and mayor gives us to work with and due diligence with those monies, but we are concerned about making sure it is a safe city and we have a work force that's not taxed," said Hite.

According to IMPD brass, some of those civilian hires could free up 40 police officers to go back on the streets.

"There are hard-working men and women out there serving our community doing exactly what we pay them to do and they'll continue to do that," said Hite.

One challenge, said city leaders, would be paying for officers' raises.

"Your police officers are tired. And they are tired from making this work over years previous in the past. They have faithfully done more with less, but they can only now do less with less," said FOP #86 Vice President Jeff Snyder.

The FOP said the city needs to hire more officers and honor the raises promised to the ones already on the streets, or face a police shortage.

"We are in a crisis and we are headed for a free fall," said Snyder.

According to the FOP, 50 police officers are lost every year to attrition. The FOP said even with the plan to hire 80 more officers in the next year, that's not going to cut it over the long haul to get more officers on the streets.