INDIANAPOLIS -- The Marion County Sheriff's Office is working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on two potential solutions to the current issue of transporting prisoners to the Marion County Jail.
On some shifts, the sheriff's department only has two wagons for the 403 square miles of the county. Why is there such a shortage? It all comes down to staffing, Col. Louis Dezelan said.
"We're down almost 90 people right now department-wide -- deputies and detention deputies," Dezelan said. "The bottom line on this is the salaries of the deputies in the Marion County Sheriff's Office. ... We're losing deputies. We must staff the jail, that's critical for us."
The sheriff's office said it is starting a hiring campaign to get more people in the department.
But the lack of wagons has been forcing some IMPD officers to transport their arrestees downtown -- something they haven't done since before the merger of the Indianapolis Police Department and the sheriff's department. Some officers are now being forced to leave their assigned patrol beat to take the arrestee downtown, which the police union says isn't effective for stopping crime.
But there are two possible solutions to the problem.
One is staging areas, where the wagons will meet IMPD officers at a central point, somewhere close to their beat, so neither party has to travel far to transport the prisoners.
The other approach is to simply take more arrestees on a trip.
"Instead of pickup one or two arrestees and bringing them back to intake, picking up three, four or five and bringing them all back to intake."
The sheriff's office said it is working closely with IMPD to make sure officers stay on the beat.
"We're not ignoring the situation, we're working to fix it," Dezelan said.
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