MUNCIE, Ind. – Several central Indiana cities are looking to boost police officer salaries.
Like most communities, police in Muncie said they have seen a slight uptick in crime since the pandemic.
“It’s a pretty heavy workload here,” said Muncie Deputy Chief of Police Christopher Deegan. “We deal with the police department responding to about 55,000 calls a year.”
Of course, not every call is related to a crime but Deegan said the workload certainly adds up.
“When you start to look at what that entails for workload per person, that’s an extensive amount of calls,” Deegan described.
Deegan said a proposed 10% pay raise for officers would help with current demands.
“We haven’t seen an increase like this in at least the time I’ve been here,” he said.
Deegan said it has been at least 10 years since he recalls such a substantial pay boost. He said the department has a very small shortage right now. Muncie Police have about 100 officers but is budgeted to have 105.
“We hope that obviously drives some recruitment and retention aid for us,” Deegan said.
In Fishers, Mayor Scott Fadness announced his 2024 budget proposal on Monday. That proposal focuses heavily on infrastructure growth but also comes with the addition of more officers.
The proposal includes the hire of three officers, two school resource officers and the hire of a civilian laboratory technician.
“We’re a growing community,” Fadness described. “Fortunately, our crime rate has remained relatively low, but as we get into more school resource officer work, more detectives, when we get into more details like FBI safe streets, or crime gun intelligence center down in Indianapolis, we got to continue to add staff to maintain our patrol levels at any given time and on any given day in the city of fishers.”
Fadness also said adding school resource officers helps keep the more than 22,000 Hamilton Southeastern Schools students safe. There have already been several incidents involving weapons at school so far this school year. None of these have happened in Hamilton County though.
“Adding a couple more school resource officers will allow us to get into more buildings, get more access, and frankly make more connections with those students so that we can prevent anything bad from happening in our schools,” Fadness said.
Both Fishers and Muncie are also looking to increase longevity pay for officers as well.
In Indianapolis, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s budget proposal also includes a 3% raise and a 3% retention bonus for officers. IMPD will have close to 1,540 officers by the end of August. It is budgeted to have about 200 more. The department hopes these efforts will help close that gap.
All of these pay increases still require the city leader’s final approval.