INDIANAPOLIS — When the City-County Council approved Mayor Joe Hogsett’s record-setting $1.4 billion 2023 municipal budget, it also okayed $266 million to IMPD to help keep the city safe.

”We’re on track to continue a historic level of investment in not only new technology but new officers, more prominent recruiting and I hope to have 200 new officers as soon as possible,” said the mayor the morning after the Council bought into his spending plan. ”We’re gonna be very aggressive in recruiting.”

IMPD will need the help quite figuratively from the cavalry as the current recruit class is less than half of what top commanders were predicting it would be just a few months ago.

”Our current class is at 23 recruits,” said Deputy Chief Catherine Cummings, “and while that number is not as large as we would like it to be, it is still 23 new officers to come on to IMPD and I am very excited about their future.”

As of this morning, there were 1,605 men and women wearing the badge of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Mayor Hogsett has set enough money aside to employ 1,843 officers, but with unemployment low, applicants have their pick of jobs and employers, veteran officers are retiring and law enforcement has lost some of its luster as a career.

”I believe truly that people who are applying for law enforcement jobs are doing it for reasons greater than the money,” said Cummings. “The money helps, but they’re doing it for a greater cause for that chance and opportunity to give back to their community.”

Still, IMPD is upping the ante to encourage new recruits to apply and take the oath.

”Somebody coming on and joining us next year could make about $71,000 starting out,” said Cummings. ”We are increasing our training budget as well as our recruiting budget.”

The 2023 IMPD budget for officers to receive outside training is $250,000 in 2023.

”I have heard from many, many of our officers they would like to come back to seek additional training,” said Cummings. “To improve as employees and improve the service that they can give to their community members.”

There’s also enough money for 300 new police cars, a boost to IMPD’s commitment to the Indiana Regional Crime Guns Task Force and bonuses for veteran officers willing to transfer from other departments.

IMPD’s next recruit class won’t be sworn in until the first quarter of 2023, even though retirements and separations this year are expected to match 2022 new hires on a one-for-one basis.