IMPD awarded $2.5 million grant for new officers, but loses bid from federal body camera program

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 21, 2015)— Following the announcement of a $2.5 million grant awarded to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to be used to hire additional officers, the department learned they would not receive federal grant money to pay for body cameras.

Monday, IMPD officials were joined by U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler in announcing $2.5 million in grant money that includes $1.8 million from Community Oriented Policing Services, an agency that provides grants to law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire police officers. IMPD will use the funds to hire an additional 15 officers in an effort to reduce violent crime.

The grant will pay for the salaries and benefits of the new officers for three years. The additional 15 officers will patrol neighborhood streets in hopes to reduce gun violence in the city.

"We’re taking ownership of this problem. We own it, we care about it and we’re going to fix it," Minkler said.

Other grants awarded to Indianapolis include:

  • $294,000 for Project Safe Neighborhoods, an anti-gun and gang initiative
  • $250,000 for a criminal justice and mental health collaboration
  • $150,000 to fight crime in hot spot areas of Indianapolis

"I think it’s an opportunity for us to share resources with the community ... in a proactive and not just a reactive way," Chief Rick Hite said.

At the press conference Monday, officials stressed the money would not be used for police body cameras, stating they applied for two additional grants that would providing funding for those cameras.  Officials with the Department of Public Safety later confirmed to FOX59 the city did not receive grant money from the body-worn camera pilot program, an initiative by the Office of Justice Programs to award $23 million in funding to purchase body-worn cameras and adequate training to officers.

However, two Indiana cities did receive grants from the federal program. Fort Wayne received $126,585 and West Lafayette was awarded $12,166.

IMPD is still awaiting word about the second federal grant. Mayor Greg Ballard had intended for the grant money to help offset costs for body cameras, with only $250,000 set aside in next year's budget. It is estimated that it would cost between $2 million and $4 million to outfit all of the city's officers with the cameras.

Hite focused on the money IMPD is getting, saying it is grateful for any extra funding, especially to hire more officers.

Minkler said the focus will be on getting guns out of the hands of violent criminals.

"A lot of people talk about it, they talk about the gun violence and most of them say, 'I hope somebody, somewhere, somehow does something about it.' I think what you’ve seen here today is there are people taking ownership of that," Minkler said.