IMPD settlement costs on upward trend, concerning new public safety director

Costs increase 7-fold in just 2 years

INDIANAPOLIS - The Call 6 Investigators have uncovered a concerning trend when it comes to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department settlements and the growing cost to taxpayers.

The city pays out to settle lawsuits for things like police brutality, car crashes and injuries during an arrest.

Through a public records request, Call 6 Investigators found the city paid out $754,600 in 2009 for 21 cases.

In 2010, the city paid $601,255 to settle IMPD cases.

In 2011, IMPD settlements cost $1,011,490 for 29 cases.

So far in 2012, IMPD has cost the city more than $4.3 million for just 16 cases.

"That's a concern to me coming in and looking at this," said Troy Riggs, Indianapolis public safety director. "It's surprising."

That means the city is spending at least seven times more on settlements than they did two years ago.

The City Office of Corporation Counsel denied the Call 6 Investigators' request for public records associated with these settlements.

The $4.3 million figure includes $3.8 million for several settlements associated with the drunk driving case involving IMPD officer David Bisard.

"The trend is troubling," said Democratic City-County Councilor Brian Mahern. "We need every single dollar. To waste unnecessary settlements is just unfortunate and unconscionable."

Mahern told RTV6 the council needs to discuss the costs.

"It's no secret IMPD's had some problems in the recent past as far as public confidence and the way they conduct things," said Mahern. "It's troubling to see these numbers are what they are."

Riggs said he is forming a team with the CFO, IMPD and private litigators to look at the growing cost of settling IMPD cases.

"I want to make sure I understand everything about this, and that's why I'm putting a team together," said Riggs.

Riggs said they will look at everything from training to how the city attorneys handle cases.

"Maybe we haven't been very forceful in fighting these cases," said Riggs. "I don't know what it is, but we're going to sit down and take an open look."

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