'Cops Remember:' Public pushes need for more police officers at city-council meeting
Last Updated: 82 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - The city-county council public safety and criminal justice committee got an earful Wednesday night. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs presented his 2014 budget, followed by a presentation from the Fraternal Order of Police. And it was standing room only.
Everyone seemed to agree: The city needs more police officers on the street. The question is (and it's a big one): how to pay for it? And can it be done without finding millions of dollars in new funding? That depends on who you ask.
Wearing florescent green T-shirts, FOP members, their friends and family packed into the meeting room with signs for members of the city county council public safety and criminal justice committee. Simply put, they want more cops on the street. New cops and a recruit class.
"There is a dangerous shortage of police officers,” Police union vice president Rick Snyder said. “Our citizens do feel less safe and the number of homicides continues to climb. "
Snyder presented a plan that will add officers to a department he warns is shrinking to dangerous levels.
"On average we lose 50 police officers each year due to just normal attrition," Snyder said.
Snyder had high praise for Riggs, who presented his 2014 plan that adds civilians and shifts officers to daily patrols. But he also told council members they need to take action to find new funding to add police to the streets.
"I will say this I think it's time for us to have a serious discussion about finding funding and revenue to hire additional officers,” Riggs said to enormous applause.
Working with a budget that is flat from this past year, Riggs presented a plan to hire more officers. Fifty next year, and 50 in 2015. But during his time in front of the microphone, Snyder told the elected officials that his union has developed a five year strategic staffing plan.
"We are at a critical tipping point and that is being compounded by a demoralized work force, which according to the prosecutor and other elected officials, is stretched thin and staffed by members with high levels of seniority who are retiring at dangerously high numbers," Snyder said.
Riggs acknowledged that if the additional funding isn't there, he won't have the money to hire the new officers he talked about. So the next question is: Where's the money coming from?
The council votes on the budget next month.
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