Indy DPS officials deliver progress report, set goals for 2014

Officials hope to achieve goals through technology

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and city public safety officials delivered a progress report on 2013 and set goals for the year ahead Thursday.

The Department of Public Safety spends 85 percent of the entire city budget and it requires careful management of all those assets.

Officials said 2013 was the year of the gun -- one that was turned on police and citizen against citizen.

Officer Rod Bradway died a hero's death when he was shot and killed while saving the life of another. Two other police officers were shot and wounded in the line of duty and 630 other public safety responders suffered injuries on the job.

2013 was also a year of business and management efficiencies; DPS will save $8 million over five years by going to biofuels and electric vehicles.

The police department reassigned more than 100 officers to help respond to citizen calls for service. For 2014, police will hire more cops and more civilians.

"That's the equivalent of 120 officers out on the street that will be doing traditional police work in 2014 that were not there in 2013," Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said.

Officials said that for a city that hasn't done any meaningful hiring in four years, the thin blue line has become stretched dangerously thin. Some citizen legislators see a direct correlation in the number of police with the city's highest murder rate in seven years.

"I believe if you have a sufficient number of police officers, then they can work within the high schools, middle schools and these communities where you have these murders occurring daily," City-County Council member Mary Moriarty Adams said.

Riggs called upon all of Indianapolis to conduct a public dialogue, not only about the 125 murders last year, but also the 95 heroin-related deaths and nearly 170 suicides.

"We've got to put the politics aside. We've got to get in a room together and we've got to come up with solutions that deal with the root causes that a causing people to commit this carnage in our city," Rev. Charles Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition said.

Officials said the goal for 2014 is to reduce crime, reduce the fear of crime and enhance the safety of citizens and visitors to Indianapolis.

City officials plan to achieve that goal through technology including an enhanced computer program that will give leaders real-time information about crime and quality-of-life issues.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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