INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Marion County Sheriff John Layton will close the Arrestee Processing Center on East Market Street at six p.m. Sunday and transfer all operations to the basement of the City County Building.
The move returns the processing of arrestees to the lock up facilities beneath IMPD headquarters where identification, bail hearings and releases or transfers of offenders to the Marion County Jail will now occur.
Layton picked September 24 as the date to leave the APC because of a decision by Marion County judges to pull bail commissioners out of the facility in an efficiency move to keep those officials and their staffs busy working on other court-related issues at the CCB during down times in the lock up process.
“The judges used to be at the Arrestee Processing Center. That way we could bring (offenders) in, many of them would see a judge right there and be adjudicated, go out the door, make their bond,” Layton told FOX59 August 15th after announcing his plan on the day of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s 2018 budget address to the City County Council. “But the judges are pulling out of the APC which means nothing’s going to be at the building anymore. There’s no reason to take (offenders) there anymore so they’re gonna be taken straight to lock up.”
Layton said arrestees were processed in the basement of the CCB until the late 1990s when the APC was created.
While closing the APC this weekend, Layton has delayed his promise to stop running jail wagons and protecting offenders at Eskenazi Hospital until January 1st, giving IMPD Chief Bryan Roach and other Marion County police departments time to determine how they will transport their arrestees or secure them when hospitalized.
Roach has told FOX59 he will need to hire and train 30 civilian employees by the end of the year to handle processing functions and retrofit patrol cars or buy and staff wagons to transported arrestees.
City Controller Fady Qaddoura has told council members he may not be able to determine the financial impact on the IMPD and sheriff’s budgets until January after the changeovers go into effect and more than two months past the council’s vote on the 2018 city spending plan.
“The budget is supposed to take place January 1, I don’t know what these things cost and I’m supposed to vote on a budget here in the next few weeks. These questions need to be answered now. We can’t fund something if we don’t know what it costs,” said Scott Kreider, a republican councilman from Indianapolis’ southside. “Are we pulling officers off the street that are supposed to be protecting us with the rising murder rate that we have? To do that now is a stop gap. I don’t know. No one has the answer and no one seems to be able to provide to the councilors with those questions.”
It’s estimated that Layton may save $3 million a year in closing the APC and handing off offender transportation and hospital security.
During his address before the council, Mayor Hogsett said he would cut $600,000 from the sheriff’s budget while adding #13 million to IMPD’s spending plan.
Reacting to the mayor’s proposal and then announcing his plans to cut back on services, Layton launched closed door meeting with leading council democrats to protect the sheriff’s 2018 spending plan.
“We’re giving the sheriff money to do these things but as of Monday he won’t be doing it and IMPD has an unfunded mandate,” said Kreider. “I would like to see a full audit of the sheriff done. Probably should happen enterprise-wide across the whole county but as it pertains to the sheriff we should be auditing him, find out what he really needs, what equipment he actually has and if he just wants to do his constitutional functions we should just limit him to that.”
Layton has argued that offender transportation and processing is beyond his constitutional mandate.
Kreider has doubts about the sheriff’s ability to pull off a smooth transition during the processing change due to recent problems with offender management systems, inadvertent releases of inmates and over detention of some offenders.
“I know in the past we’ve had those concerns with early release, I don’t know what’s going to happen here with the transfer, if they don’t have a plan in place now, are there going to be people falling through the cracks?”
IMPD reports that the sheriff’s office leases the lock up space in the basement of the CCB where metro officers have operated a limited processing site.
Sheriff’s employees will be on hand to continue processing operations in the lock up.
Kreider said he has a meeting with Qaddoura and the mayor’s office to identify the budget impact the pending changes will have.
Hogsett’s office has told FOX59 that the Reuben Engagement Center, which was located above the APC as a convenient alternative for arrestees in need of mental or homelessness solutions as opposed to incarceration, will be unaffected by the change of processing location to the CCB several blocks away.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office did not provide answers to questions about its planned closure of the APC this weekend and the transfer of its operations to the CCB.