Councillors ask questions about Mayor’s public safety plan

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Mar. 9, 2016) — FOX59 delved into the Mayor’s proposal to restructure public safety, as city-county councillors are asking questions in committee meetings this week.

Mayor Joe Hogsett wants to eliminate the Department of Public Safety, moving things around in the government entities that keep you safe.

The new structure would make IMPD and IFD their own departments, reporting directly to the Mayor.

A new Office of Public Health and Safety would also report to the Mayor, including under it Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, public safety communications, the new Reuben Engagement Center for the homeless, and offender re-entry services. 911 dispatch will continue under the Sheriff’s department.

Animal Care and Control would move to the Department of Code Enforcement and the Citizens Police Complaint Board would move under the Mayor’s direct control.

“I think folks are concerned about what this means and what it doesn’t mean and really it is a very basic, structural realignment,” Corporation Council Andy Mallon said.

The proposal would save an immediate $300,000 to $600,000, according to Mallon.

Dr. David Wantz, the interim Director of Public Safety, told FOX59 he is on board with the plan.

“I think that (the Mayor) is really reaching out to try and do something new and different and I’m very supportive of it,” Wantz said.

As for councillors, though, they had some questions about whether the proposal is really as easy as it looks.

“I’m not sure that looking forward we’re not going to see an expansion of this particular office, as we saw in Department of Public Safety,” Christine Scales, R-District 3, said.

Councillors will continue to hear about the proposal in committee meetings. The council plans to move a March 29 meeting, which will include a vote on the proposal, to an off-site location in the community in order to solicit more public input.

You can read the full proposal at the link here.