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Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department launches effort to hire more officers

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted: 5:30 AM, Feb 27, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-27 10:30:43Z

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is looking to get more boots on the ground in the Circle City by launching a bigger hiring initiative in 2019.

The department is considered to be an "older" department with its ranks depleted by retirements with more retirements on the horizon.

In order to fill the need for more officers, the department and city are upping the pay and reaching out to the public to drum up interest.

IMPD is budgeted for 1,743 officers but has only 1,663 officers on the job.

One recent retirement is Sherron Franklin. She served 28 years on the department building on her skills and public service from her military background.

"I've learned a lot and today I found myself thanking God that i was a police officer," Franklin said.

Franklin worked in community relations. She was out in the neighborhoods working to solve problems and connect Indianapolis residents to resources.

"The most rewarding part was meeting people in the community that cared about their neighborhood," Franklin said. "The most challenging is you want to help and you want to have an answer for everything. As police officers, we are trained or we condition ourselves to have a solution for every problem."

Franklin says that now is the time to retire. The job can be physically demanding and officers know when it is time to step back. She says she still looks forward to playing an active role in the Indianapolis community and maintaining those connections she made with leaders in the community and neighborhoods. Franklin said she couldn't think of a better officer to fill her shoes than Simone Willis, a newer officer who was hired on in 2016.

"I'm the first person in my family to become a law enforcement officer," Willis, who was first inspired to become a law enforcement officer in a fifth grade program, said. "Just to see the positivity of policing at such a young age kind of propelled me to want to become a police officer."

Willis says her biggest fear going into this line of work was letting herself down, so she didn't tell anyone she was looking into the position until she had cleared some hurdles. She says the programming put on by IMPD as a new recruit helped her be able to ask any questions about the position and prepare for the physical parts of the job.

Now going into her fourth year with IMPD, Willis said the best part of her day is helping people.

"Days when I come in contact with family members, days when I'm able to give whatever insight it is, sometimes people just want to talk," Willis said. "And to sit there and be able to talk to people and get to learn about people in the area and in the neighborhood, it's exciting. It's fun."

Willis said someone who is community-driven would excel as a police officer.

The service aspect is just one major part of a career in law enforcement.

Mayor Joe Hogsett announced pay raises to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department recruits, paying the officers more in their first and second years on the job.

Under the new pay scale, first-year recruit officers will make $51,000 per year, instead of the current $39,446.16 per year. Second-year officers will make $59,500 per year, up from the current $47,650.93. Third-year officers will make the same as they currently do — $70,139 per year.

The new changes will go into effect in June, when current first- and second-year officers will also see a pay increase to the new scale.

Hogsett and IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said the pay raise is to attract and keep officers in Indianapolis.

"As we work to recruit new officers, we're not only competing with other industries in Indianapolis, we're competing with police agencies in other cities," Roach said. "Innovation in recruiting practices and a competitive starting salary are crucial if we are to continue to build a police force that reflects the strength and vibrancy of Indianapolis."

IMPD will pay for the raises through cost savings from retirements and over-budgeting, according to a release from the City of Indianapolis.

IMPD is also instituting an incentive program that rewards officers for recruiting new people to the department. Officers who recruit an applicant can receive up to $500.

Since the 2019 city budget fully funds 1,743 IMPD officers, to reach this staffing level, IMPD has goals to bring in 75 new recruit officers in June, and 75 in December.

"Balancing the budget with unanimous council support allows us to make long overdue investments — investments in things like infrastructure, education, and in the people charged with keeping our city safe," Hogsett said in a release. "And coupled with innovative changes to recruiting practices, investing more in each person who steps up to serve our city will in turn help us recruit more qualified people."

They are accepting applications through March for the next recruit class.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying for a career with IMPD, you can visit https://www.indy.gov/activity/become-a-police-officer-with-impd to get started.