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Tax hike included in plan to pay for more IMPD cops

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Staffing Study Commission approved a proposal Monday on how the city would pay for 400 additional police officers over the next four years.

As the city’s homicide rate rises almost every night, leaders are trying to beef up the police force by adding 100 new officers each year for the next four years. Apart from that, 80 new cops will join IMPD by the end of this year.

“It would allow IMPD to put those officers out on the streets, more detectives, officers in vice, wherever they’re needed, they could then have the numbers that they need to adequately staff their department,” said Councilwoman Mary Moriarty Adams.

On Monday, that commission approved two ways it will pay for all those new hires.

Around 42 officers retire each year, but that still leaves 58 officers for the city to fund each year.

First, the commission wants to raise the public safety tax from .35 to .5 starting in 2015. That would bring in around $15 million.

“For a person that would make around $50,000 a year it would be an additional $75 annually to hire those police officers,” explained Moriarty Adams.

The proposal also includes phasing out the Homestead tax credit over the course of the next four years. This would collect about $8 million.

The commission will also go after grant money, although that would only bring in up to $700,000, roughly enough to hire 10 of those new officers.

“This would pay for salary and benefits only though. But at least it’s another funding mechanism in order to get 10 more police officers,” she said.

While it is not in the proposal, the commission will also look into charging service fees for groups or events that come to Indianapolis and use police officers for security and traffic control. Currently, they don’t have to pay any fees for these services.

The commission plans to discuss the proposal with Mayor Greg Ballard. He released a statement about the vote, Monday evening which reads:

“For three consecutive years I have asked the City-County Council to provide more funding to hire additional IMPD officers, but they have refused.  I will give serious thought to any proposal that emerges from the Council process.”

The full City-County council will have to give the final vote.