Story Summary

City announces launch of efficiency teams aimed to protect citizens

public safety genericIndianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs announced the creation of more than two dozen efficiency teams that will take a comprehensive look on how Indianapolis protects its citizens.

The Department of Public Safety said the efficiency teams were launched in order to become as effective and efficient as possible, to increase community and employee involvement in charting the future and to become the finest public safety department in the nation.

Each team will consist of employees, members of the public, elected officials and affected labor unions.  The teams will be given goals, objectives and will be required to meet deadlines.

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INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Greg Ballard said public safety is priority number one as he unveiled his 2014 budget proposal to the City-County Council Monday night.

He said the plan helps reduce the estimated $55 million budget shortfall and increases public safety funding, in part, by increasing taxes for some Marion County homeowners. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is short an estimated 685 police officers and nearly half of the force is eligible for retirement. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry has said Indianapolis is in a crisis situation because of the manpower shortage.

“Our communities are living in an environment of lawlessness and disorder, and that breeds violence in a larger picture,” said Councilor Zach Adamson.

“The biggest thing I hear when I talk to the police officers is they’re tired, they’re just tired,” said Councilor Jeff Miller.

The mayor said his budget prioritizes spending on police, fire, public safety and criminal justice with greater than 90 percent of general fund revenue dedicated to those agencies. IFD is projected to save $1 million through operational efficiencies. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is reduced by $5 million to reflect reduced county revenue and anticipated savings in arrestee medical care.

“Due to a lagging economy, we will continue to hold the line on spending and avoid an increase in income taxes,” said Ballard. “This budget reflects our community priorities. It maintains our competitive business environment and promotes our continued growth.”

Ballard wants the council to make more funding available by eliminating the homestead property tax credit to boost revenue by $11.5 million. The proposal has been rejected twice.

“Those at the property tax cap won’t pay any more, and it makes poor people subsidize rich people for their property taxes. It’s probably not a good thing,” said Ballard.

The mayor has also proposed expanding the IMPD property tax district to include every homeowner in Marion County that relies on IMPD–not just homeowners who are living within the old city limits. The change would generate another $1 million in ongoing funds. This district was not expanded at the time of the police/sheriff merger.

“We don’t have enough recurring funding to balance the budget which includes the IMPD budget. It may be that we’re doing things this year just to get recurring funds in place for IMPD so we don’t have to have these discussions again,” said Miller, who said he is supporting the two tax changes.

The overall budget, which includes self-funded, dedicated-tax-supported, and outside grant funded agencies, remains flat at roughly $1 billion.

“Earlier this year, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and I announced a plan to return 156 officers to patrol duty and hire two new recruit classes of at least 50 officers in each of the next two years,” said Ballard. “This budget supports those efforts and, most importantly, provides the funding to pay and equip these officers in the future.”

The council is expected to vote on a final budget in mid-October after continued discussions. State law requires that it be passed prior to Nov. 1, 2013.

Other details of the mayor’s plan are as follows:

  • $14.5 million in new revenue from expanding IMPD property tax district and elimination of Homestead Tax Credit
  • $5.9 million in budget reductions
  • $8 million in savings from anticipated healthcare cost increases that never materialized due to delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and traditional premium increases
  • $3 million by having agencies absorb the cost of contracted raises through savings in existing budget
  • $1.4 million through implementation of fuel surcharge for IMPD and IFD take-home vehicles
  • Use of $25 million in existing fund balances

INDIANAPOLIS – Mayor Greg Ballard is calling his plans to reduce a $55 million budget deficit fair, in the wake of heated debate on how to keep our cities safe.

The mayor’s 2014 budget plan is proposing among other things, two tax hikes, potentially affecting tens of thousands of Marion County property owners.

One issue includes expanding the Police Special Service District. Since the county law enforcement merger that created IMPD in 2007, the tax district never expanded beyond the old city police area. Ballard proposed property owners in all of Marion County (except for Lawrence, Speedway, Beech Grove and Southport) to pay their share.

Homeowners with a $100,000 home in old city limits, and not at the one-percent cap, would see a 70-percent property tax cut from $365/year. Homeowners in outlying areas would pay the tax for the first time. The tax increase would be $114/year, expected to generate $1.3M for IMPD.

“I think this is a matter of fairness that everybody is paying for IMPD protection,” said Marc Lotter of the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office. “The mayor’s not going to create a fiscal cliff by using one-time dollars to support ongoing operations.”

Ballard is also proposing to raise $11.5 million to fund IMPD operations by eliminating a local homestead credit. Property owners, on average, would see an increase of $22/year. It would not impact homes already at one-percent cap.

City County Council leaders believe property taxes will be a tough sell. Instead, they hope to tap into existing city sources to fund for public safety, their main priority.

“My general philosophy is you have to look at every rock before you even think about raising taxes,” said John Barth, City County Council Vice President. “We simply do not have enough IMPD officers to do the job we need them to do. We’re going to do everything we can to get some more money for the IMPD.”

City leaders said public safety already represents 90-percent of the general fund. The mayor hopes to set in motion a fuel surcharge for take-home law enforcement vehicles, generating an estimated $1.4 million.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Mayor Greg Ballard, alongside Public Safety Director Tony Riggs and Chief of Police Rick Hite, announced a plan Monday to put more than 100 additional Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers on the streets for patrol duty.

In the next few weeks, 116 uniformed officers will patrol streets and 40 additional officers are expected to be added by the end of next year.

The mayor said the plan was based on recommendations from an internal team that was in charge of finding personnel efficiencies throughout the police department.

“This plan addresses our city’s immediate need for more police officers on the street and our long-range need to be able to pay for it,” said Mayor Ballard. “This plan will help lower crime in our neighborhoods. It will put more police where we need them, on the streets of Indianapolis, and it does so in a fiscally responsible way, meaning we already know how to pay for it.”

The efficiency team recommended certain positions could be filled by civilians, allowing sworn officers in those positions to return to patrol functions. Therefore, IMPD plans to hire 10 civilians by the end of the year and another 35 by the end of 2014.

“This process was the most comprehensive review of IMPD in the history of the department,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “We had to be positive we were making the best use of the current staff before we could ask for additional officers. Now that this process is complete, we can move forward in a responsible way for the benefit of our community and the men and women of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.”

In addition to returning 156 officers to patrol functions over the next 18 months, the Department of Public Safety will budget for a recruit class of at least 50 officers to start in late 2014 and another recruit class of at least 50 officers in 2016 to maintain the staffing as officers retire and leave the force each year.

“This plan takes long overdue actions to make better use of our committed and talented IMPD officers,” Chief Hite said. “It calls for all officers to work closely with our communities, solving problems and increasing safety.”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is set to confirm patrol changes first reported by Fox 59 News last month.

Monday morning the mayor will say that 100 Metro police officers, most of them already assigned to the streets, will change duties to tackle crime in some of the city’s worst neighborhoods.

It will also be announced that through Department of Public Safety belt-tightening, $3 million has been saved this year to pay for 2014 pay raises for police and firefighters and the hiring of a handful of civilians to replace police officers who would then be freed to take on patrol assignments.

A source indicates that Public Safety Director Troy Riggs is expected to reveal his plan for funding an IMPD recruit class in 2014 in an attempt to keep pace with the retirements of dozens of veteran police officers expected in the years to come.

Approximately 80 metro police neighborhood resource officers began their new assignments last week, taking on regular patrols in designated zones in an attempt to put more active officers on the streets and reduce response times.

The mayor’s announcement will come less than eight hours before the start of a city county council meeting where a bi-partisan group of councilors will attempt to override Ballard’s veto of their plans to spend $6 million of Rebuild Indy funds for a 2013 IMPD recruit class.

“I am curious as to why the mayor has chosen Monday, a few hours before there is a vote to override his veto, to do his announcement,” said Zach Adamson, an at-large council democrat. “I was anticipating this announcement last week.”

Ballard’s announcement was set for July 1st, the date the new patrol policy was set to go into effect, but a source told Fox 59 News that the mayor had not been fully briefed yet.

A summary report of the Department of Public Safety’s Police Personnel Allocation Efficiency Team indicates that Indianapolis is far below the national average for police officers for a city of its size.

“The very minimum national average for police officers to population is 2.5 per 1000 people,” reads the report exclusively obtained by Fox 59 News. “The current staffing of IMPD is 1.7 officers per 1000 persons. To reach this ratio, IMPD would need to hire 685 new officers.

“During an analysis of the staffing of IMPD it was determined that hiring more officers is the only way to effectively staff the department.”

FOP Lodge #86 President Bill Owensby said his membership insisted that statistic be included in the DPS report.

“Out of that (report) came a blatant screaming need to hire more manpower,” said Owensby. “Even if you just compare Indianapolis with like-size cities, we’re woefully short on manpower.”

Indianapolis has 1586 officers serving a population of 892,000.

A year ago IMPD’s stated manpower strength was 1641.

Milwaukee has 2000 officers patrolling a city of 709,000 people.

Columbus, Ohio, lists 1827 officers protecting a population of 787,000.

Memphis, Tennessee, has 2450 officers in a city of 652,000 residents.

Owensby said that while most crime in Indianapolis is down (though homicide is up approximately 50%), there are not enough officers to keep the city safe.

“Its going to ebb and flow and what’s going to happen when it goes back up?” he asked. “What’s going to happen when the criminals realize there’s not enough cops on the streets to catch them? That’s not going to take very long and then crime is going to start going back up. Then what?”

The shortfall of nearly 700 officers, while disputed by some analysts who say it does not take into account efficiencies as the result of improved technology, came as a shock to city county councilors who supported a raid on the infrastructure funds to pay for a 2013 recruit class.

“The $6 million was under the assumption that we were only two or 300 short and so it does change the dialogue considerably,” said Adamson, who lives on the near eastside. “I don’t know if the mayor was aware of this when he vetoed this proposal but I know the council wasn’t aware of this when we took the initial vote.”

It can take up to two years to seek out, train and assign a recruit class to patrol duty.

“What’s striking is it seems that this report is saying that we need to hire 685 new officers where we’ve been alarmed at the fact that we thought we need to hire only two or 300, which we thought was quite a bit,” said republican councilwoman Christine Scales as she read the report for the first time.

“It confirms what I hear from my own constituents, that they have to wait longer for calls to respond to emergencies…that people are not feeling secure, that they are experiencing more break ins.”

Mayor Ballard contends that Rebuild Indy money, raised through the sale of the water company to Citizens Energy, should be spent on infrastructure projects, not police hiring which would commit the city to long-term personnel costs.

“Mayor Ballard will not risk the fiscal health of the city by using one-time money to pay for on-going expenses,” said spokesman Marc Lotter.

Recruit class supporters say the salaries of the estimated 45 police officers who retire from IMPD every year should be applied to the budget of hiring and equipping new officers who would serve at a lower cost.

20 votes are needed to override the mayor’s veto.

Democrats can count on 14 votes from their own party and three republicans who supported the original recruit spending resolution.

Ballard opponents say they need to capture three of the four wavering republicans on the council.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs will brief republican councilors at their caucus before Monday’s meeting.

Republican councilors contacted by Fox 59 News indicated they will wait for Riggs’ briefing before making a decision on whether to override the mayor’s veto.

One councilor cautioned that even if the override succeeds, there’s no guarantee Ballard would agree to the council’s resolution and fund the recruit class.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– When Public Safety Director Troy Riggs arrived last October he inherited a police and public safety department over budget, under manned, demoralized and fighting a rising crime rate.

Within months, Riggs called for the establishment of two dozen efficiency teams to examine public safety from top to bottom, from a DPS business plan to solutions to graffiti, and the first reports are on his desk.

“I have gone over graffiti eradication, also limited English proficiency and the last one that I looked at was the DPS vehicle fleet efficiency report.”

Wednesday night, Riggs will sit down and read a report on how to allocate IMPD’s dwindling manpower and provide more services with fewer resources.

“We have a police allocation team,” Riggs said. “We need to know how many officers we’re going to have on the street for the next two or three years.”

Riggs already sees the success in his review by the outside input community members have provided to a violent crime rate which is down 11 percent compared to a year ago even though the city’s murder rate is up 54 percent at a time when more veteran homicide detectives are retiring.

Other efficiency teams on the verge of turning in their reports for final review and implementation include a violent crime review team, a discipline review team, an IMPD property review team and a team examining the city’s response to last November’s Richmond Hill explosion which killed two people, injured dozens more and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

“We think we’re making a monumental shift here,” said Riggs. “The biggest crimes are usually solved by the smallest tips. The way we can actually create the quality of life is to talk to the people in this community and ask what can we do as a government and enhance their quality of life. As a result it makes livability better, it increases property values and helps our city overall.”

Riggs said changes brought on by the efficiency teams will roll out as the summer wears on.

“By the end of summer you’re going to see more officers on the street,” Riggs said. “You’re going to hear about a lot of things going on within the department of public safety where we are increasing our services to the community and we’re being more open and more visible and more transparent than we have before.”

In an area as relative simple as graffiti eradication, Riggs said officials are learning most taggers aren’t gang members but would-be artists, even though their art is still a blight on the walls of businesses and homes.

“What can we do as government to help small business owners who get graffiti on their property? What can we do to help them eradicate that?” he asked.

“We have detectives. We educate the court system. We’re holding people accountable. We’re looking at holding parents accountable.

“We’re seeing a lot of new ideas, some old ideas, too, that worked in the past that the department just got away from.

“We will be looking at a lot of new ideas.”

Next week Riggs said Metro Police Chief Rick Hite will unveil his plans for battling violent crime and keeping the city safe this summer.

During the last two months, undercover and patrol officers have targeted specific neighborhoods for added enforcement, arresting dozens of convicted felons wanted on warrants and seizing guns and drugs as well as keeping tabs on recently released parolees from the state prison system.

“To sit down and say we’re going to talk about 25-30 major issues is a daunting task,” said Riggs. “I don’t think we can do any more. A lot of people say we’re doing too much already but I think we can handle it.

“What’s different about this and what’s different than in the past is these will become operational plans.”

June 1 is the deadline for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite to roll out his plan to keep the city safe this summer.

But in a spring tune up, police officers have already hit some of Indianapolis’ most troubled neighborhoods, locking up dozens of wanted suspects and felons with guns.

“Before you deploy your resources, you have to know what’s out there,” said Hite, as he re-evaluates IMPD’s manpower so he can fulfill a promise to put 100 more cops on the streets. “We have our own way of getting some information…intelligence…as to what’s happening, what’s changed in the last six months to a year. Real time, information is what we’re looking for and we have some people working towards that goal.”

As well as utilizing narcotics, gangs and violent crime detectives, IMPD is already partnering with the Department of Corrections to identify parolees returning to Indianapolis neighborhoods from prison and whether those felons are primed to fall back into their former way of life.

“What’s happening with those individuals?” Hite is asking. “Do they have a service plan when they come back, re-entry? We’re looking at them in terms of where they’re staying. Are they welcomed back in their community? Have they transgressed to the point where they’re not welcomed back in their home and community? Where will they go back to? Is there unfinished business connected to them? We want to know 30 to 90 days out where they are in that whole process.”

Hite said his officers are also working closer with mental health counselors and social workers because, “If you look at their clients and compared it to our list, you can see the exact same dots in the exact same area where we can identify challenges.”

IMPD has pinpointed hot geo zones, where calls for service combined with a concentration of likely offenders mean officers and neighbors will find the most trouble.

As of last Saturday, IMPD accounted for 46 criminal homicides as compared to 28 this time last year. That’s a 64 percent increase and does not include a double homicide at Hawthorne Place last weekend.

“Our numbers are trending downward except in the homicide area,” said Hite. “Sixty-three percent of the homicides are based on people who knew each other. There is unfinished business with some of those individuals, whether it be illegal or personal. We’re seeing a lot of the personal issues with violent crime.”

Paradoxically, violent crime as a whole is off by 5 percent and overall crime is down by 11 percent.

“We’ve seen downward trends over the let few months so it says we’re in the right places at the right times.”

IMPD officers are also analyzing juvenile suspension and expulsion numbers from area schools as well as incarceration statistics with an eye on summer youth violence.

Part of the June 1 roll out will be plans to provide more convenient ways for the public to report crimes over the phone or through e-mail so that analysts can spot trends in neighborhoods, even if the residents don’t believe a broken window or garage burglary will be solved.

The first of more than two dozen efficiency teams created by the city to help better protect citizens revealed their recommendations for the Department of Public Safety more than two months ahead of schedule.

Public Safety Director Troy Riggs announced the first-round recommendations from the Police Morale Efficiency Team will be implemented immediately.

“These recommendations are important to restoring morale within the Department of Public Safety specifically IMPD,” said Riggs. “DPS stands committed to implementing recommendations from other efficiency teams once they are received and reviewed.”

The efficiency team called for increased communication between officers and the Office of the Chief of Police Rick Hite.  The team recommended Hite connect regularly with all officers and civilians within the department in order to establish a successful stream of communication.

“Communication in any organization is important, but particularly in policing,” said Chief Hite. “In addition to the newsletters, we look to expand our communication outreach through increased e-mail blasts and other means to communicate with the Office of the Chief and this will in fact improve morale and increase communication.”

Public safety officials also plan to increase morale by applying additional funds to the Fallen Officer Legacy Project, which was established to place commemorative plaques at incident locations in the community where officers have died in the line of duty.  Project coordinators have already identified 118 markers, which cost about $30 each, that need to be placed across Marion Co.

“One of the sacred traditions of any police agency is to honor the officers who have fallen in the line of duty.  The Fallen Officer Legacy Project gives us the opportunity to not only honor those officers who made the greatest sacrifice but also to allow the public to recognize their sacrifice,” said Spencer Moore, retired IMPD lieutenant and father to fallen officer David Moore.

Additionally, markers will also be placed at incident locations for fallen firefighters and EMS workers.

Faced with a nearly 30 percent increase in homicides over a year ago, Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs unveiled a new efficiency team responsible for developing a strategy to reduce violent crime rates in Marion County.

“This is not a program. This is not a project. This is not an initiative,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “This is a new way of doing business for the city and for the police department.”

In late January, city officials announced more than two dozen efficiency teams were created to take a top-to-bottom review of public safety, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and crime related issues in Indianapolis. Thursday, officials announced the establishment of the Violent Crime Review Team, which will consist of about 30 members from varying agencies, including law enforcement and criminal justice officials, as well as community representatives such as the 10-Point Coalition. The team will be headed by IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

Hite said that non-fatal shootings outnumber homicides by a 5-1 ratio.

“Victims of crime and their families, their lives are altered because of violent crime,” said Riggs. “Future generations are altered because of violent crime.”

For the week ending March 9, the police department reported 22 homicides, versus 17 homicides at this point in 2012. Since that time, two more killings have occurred. Additionally, aggravated assaults and robberies are up, though rape cases have reduced by 15 percent.

“Last year marked the third consecutive year IMPD reported fewer than 100 murders, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Mayor Ballard. “Therefore, I have directed DPS to develop a plan to reduce violent crime in our city. Naturally, if we bring down that number, the murder rate will continue to drop.”

Riggs has said in the past that he wants to track violent crime, from its suspects and offenders to its origins in families and schools then through the law enforcement and criminal justice system to incarceration and return to the community.

The efficiency team may look at tracking at-risk youngsters to identify earlier which children might be victims or suspects and offer counseling, alternative sentencing and behavior modification that impacts the entire family.

“We have already in the area of truancy taken steps to hold parents accountable and where appropriate we will do so in gun cases as well,” said Prosecutor Terry Curry.

The Indianapolis program will be similar to the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, which was launched in 2005.

Founding Director Mallory O’Brien told Fox 59 News that the commission has successfully reduced the number of homicides and non-fatal shootings in Milwaukee through analysis of neighborhoods, victims and suspects and developing city ordinances and patrol and investigation alternatives to combat violent crime.

As police, prosecutors and probation authorities share information, they are better able to track those at risk of not only committing crimes but also being victimized.

Department of Corrections probation officers are now advised when a parolee is involved in a crime and agents then not only visit that parolee, but other ex-offenders living on the same block to advise them of the crime and the investigative efforts to solve it.

O’Brien said that the commission was successful in finding money to support a witness protection fund so that witnesses to violent crime would not be intimidated about coming forward.

Milwaukee police officers now have access to follow up information regarding juvenile offenders who return home or are back on the streets after arrests.

Homicides in Milwaukee taverns dropped after directed patrols were assigned on weekends and a city ordinance requiring surveillance cameras in bars was adopted.

Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Birmingham, Alabama, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Saginaw, Mich., have all adopted parts of the Milwaukee approach to combating violent crime.

O’Brien said homicides fell by 52 percent in districts where the plan was originally rolled out.

In Milwaukee, an executive committee, including the district attorney, police chief, mayor, U.S. Attorney, attorney general, DOC chief and community organization directors, oversees the operation of the commission on an ongoing basis to maintain the pressure and funding for the city’s assault on violent crime.

The Violent Crime Review Team will have its initial meeting on Friday.  The team is expected to submit a draft of its 2013 plan by May 1 and the final plan by May 31. Information pertaining to the team’s work can be accessed here.

The Department of Public Safety launched two additional efficiency teams Wednesday that were created to help better protect the public.

The Graffiti Eradication Team and the Limited English Proficiency Team began work at the City-County Council building. The two teams are a part of approximately 30 teams that will take a comprehensive look on how Indianapolis protects its citizens.

Each efficiency team is comprised of public safety employees, members of the public, elected officials and affected labor unions.  The teams are given goals, objectives and are required to meet deadlines.

The Graffiti Eradication Efficiency Team, chaired by City-County Councilor Jeff Miller, will review the current processes used for eliminating graffiti in the city and determine the best way to move forward.  The Limited English Proficiency Team, chaired by IMPD Commander Jim Waters, is currently working to present a plan to ensure all citizens have equal access to the criminal justice system, including people with limited English proficiency.

The teams are expected to submit their findings by June 1.  Information regarding the teams’ work, recommendations and implementations will be made available here.

If you would like to submit thoughts or concerns about the efficiency teams, e-mail

An officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department wheeled his patrol car through a back alley on the west side Thursday.

“This area just north of Washington Street is a known area of drug activity and prostitution,” said Officer Nick Serban.

It was too cold for the criminals to be out, but Serban is confident that once the weather warms up, they’ll be back, and IMPD officers on the southwest district will be swamped with calls for help.

Faced with a shrinking workforce and no money to hire and train more officers, IMPD reassigned officers last summer from patrolling smaller beats to larger zones, covering the same amount of territory with fewer cops.

“No matter how they reallocate the people that we have, the fact is, they’re going to run out of people,” said Serban, citing retirements and resignations. “No matter how you reshuffle the same number of people that you have, when it’s not enough to do the job, no matter how you move it, it’s still not enough.”

Rev. Jimmy Harrington, a lifelong resident of Haughville, agrees that he sees fewer officers patrolling his streets.

“I think the opportunity for crime has risen because of not as much presence of officers or the number of officers that we would generally have in the past,” he says, recalling the city’s Weed-N-Seed program of the 1990s which poured money and resources into the west side’s community policing program. “If I need the assistance of a police officer and call and then there’s no one there that just tells me either we need more police offices on the beats or we have a real serious concern.”

As Serban continued his afternoon patrol, and Rev. Harrington met neighbors at Christamore House, more than two dozen police and community leaders were meeting at the Marion County Central Library to begin the first ever top-to-bottom examination of the Department of Public Safety in Indianapolis and how police and firefighters and animal control specialists can keep the safer with fewer tax dollars.

“This is an aggressive list,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, “but I believe in our workforce and in our citizens of Indianapolis to make this happen.”

Eventually some 20 efficiency teams will tackle public safety problems ranging from graffiti eradication to IMPD hiring and promotions to crime reporting and the Richmond Hill explosion response.

The first four teams are tasked with developing a long range DPS business plan, examining police morale, taking a look at managing the DPS fire, police and animal control vehicle fleet and determining where IMPD’s officers are assigned and is there a more efficient way of keeping the city safe.

“One of the things that the community says all the time,” said Harrington, “’if they can see crime going on, why can’t the officers see crime as well?’”

“I have less time to look for crime,” said Serban. “I try to make the time when I can.”

Serban said southwest district officers spend more time taking runs than they do looking for trouble or casually meeting the neighbors who depend on them.

“It’s easy to say you can do more with less if you’re not here on the street actually doing it.”

Riggs expects the first four efficiency teams to report their findings June 1 with implementation of their suggestions to follow.

More than a dozen other teams will begin work as early as the spring.