INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.— The City-County Council unanimously passed a resolution Monday to establish a special investigative committee to examine the lease of the problematic Regional Operations Center entered into by the Department of Public Safety.
The 76,000-square foot building, located at 200 N. Shadeland Avenue, opened up ahead of Super Bowl XLVI was used to coordinate emergency plans for large-scale incidents at major events. The building has been criticized for its cost and safety issues, prompting an evacuation of personnel in early September.
As documented by Fox 59 News, the ROC’s fire safety system was seriously compromised without sprinklers and detectors that forced IFD to spend tens of thousands of dollars of overtime to staff the site with fire inspectors 24/7.
Previous Public Safety Director Frank Straub, with the approval of Mayor Greg Ballard and the City-County Council, pushed for relocating key police and public safety offices at the site. The city signed a 20-year lease agreement that commits Indianapolis to approximately $20 million in payments and precludes the Department of Public Safety from relocating its personnel to another leased site.
Now, the new investigation team will examine why DPS entered into an allegedly “unfavorable long-term lease” and whether or not the information provided to the Council with regard to the lease was complete and accurate. Additionally, the team will investigate if there are other leases with unfavorable terms that DPS entered and whether the city made other formal or informal commitments relateing to the ROC lease that have not yet been disclosed.
Councillor Joseph Simpson, who was designated by the President of the Council to serve as committee chair, stated, “This committee process provides an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding about how the ROC lease was put into place; and, more importantly, to understand how City business practices and related legislative policies can be strengthened to avoid a similar situation in the future.”
The committee will hold its first meeting on Monday, Nov. 4.