IMPD, IFD ask city for more money during budget hearings

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Indianapolis City-County Councillors are considering funding for two of the city's largest departments, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indianapolis Fire Department. They mayor's $1.1 billion proposed 2019 budget includes $700 million for public safety and criminal justice.

IMPD and IFD chiefs laid out how they want to use the funds during their budget hearings on Wednesday.

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach told councillors, though, at this point in time there is a higher number of homicides and non-fatal shootings, violent and property crime is overall down four percent.

Part of their budget is focused on new technology to help fight crime. "Our technology is old and there's much better technology out there," Chief Roach said.

That effort includes, in part, upgrading a surveillance camera network and creating the department's own wireless system. Another focus of IMPD's budget is staffing and fully funding more than 1700 officers.

Chief Roach said more than 90 officers have retired so far this year.

"We're here with a budget with the mayor and city county council supportive of increasing the number of police officers, yet we're struggling to get them in the door, and so it's become an HR problem more than a budget problem," Chief Roach said.

Staffing is also part of IFD's budget. It includes a nearly $8 million increase for 2019.

"This budget fully staffs not only a 70-person recruit class, but puts us on a pathway to reach our recommended staffing number going forward," IFD Chief Ernest Malone said.

The chief said IFD's budget also includes nearly $400,000 for a back-to-work center to help injured firefighters rehab, heal and get back to work, and save overtime expenses.

There are more  budget hearings ahead for other city departments before it goes to the full council.