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Cops could soon be calling blighted neighborhoods home

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INDIANAPOLIS – A new plan introduced by democratic members of the Indianapolis City-County Council is aimed at reducing crime while cleaning up some of the city’s most blighted neighborhoods.

“This is about the community. This is about our neighborhood and making sure that individuals in these neighborhoods feel safe,” said City-County Council President Maggie Lewis.

The idea is to repair blighted homes in neighborhoods with high crime and offer them to officers rent-free for two years.  A home in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood has been chosen as the first of five homes to be remodeled for the “Safe Neighborhoods Now” initiative.

“If something like this can help and be positive and bring up the quality of life, then I’m all for it,” said Al Polin, Mapleton-Fall Creek resident.

Rick Snyder, Fraternal Order of Police, says officers are interested in the program.

“The thing that folks sometimes tend to forget is that our police officers are also a part of this community,” said Snyder.

Snyder explains that the “Safe Neighborhoods Now” plan will entice new officers to join the force.

“I believe that this will be another attractive recruitment tool to incentivize officers to pick IMPD over other police agencies,” said Snyder.

Ryan Vaughn, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s Chief of Staff, released a statement that reads in part, “If the goal is to have officers live in the neighborhoods they patrol in an effort to make them safer, the first step should be asking the FOP and Sheriff’s office to work with the state to change the law that lets officers live outside the city they serve,” said Vaughn.

According to the statement, there are 241 IMPD officers living outside of the Indianapolis city limits, equaling $15 Million in salaries.

Currently, IMPD officers are allowed to drive squad cars outside of Indianapolis with special permission and an added fuel surcharge, according to Marc Lotter, Mayor Ballard’s communication director.

City-County Council democrats plan on taking about $1 Million of ‘Rebuild Indy’ funds to repair five homes and make them habitable for officers.

The “Safe Neighborhoods Now,” initiative will be introduced mid-July.