Monday, November 14, 2005

Police Merger Bill Fails By One Vote

The much anticipated vote at tonight's Indianapolis City-County Council for the consolidation of the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police Department fell one vote short on a vote of 15-14 against. All Republican council members voted against the measure, along with a lone Democrat, Sherron Franklin, an IPD police officer.

It is a bit ironic that consolidation of Marion County and Indianapolis governments into the original Uni-Gov under former Mayor Richard Lugar has long been hailed as a crowning achievement by local Republicans. Mayor Lugar's original plan called for the consolidation of the police departments, but politics caused that idea, as well as other forms of consolidation now sought by Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson, to be left to fight another day.

Former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith planned to offer the consolidation plan now promoted by Mayor Peterson, but he shelved it because of opposition from then-Sheriff Jack Cottey and township Republicans. Goldsmith was trying to unite the county Republicans behind his gubernatorial bid in 1996 at the time, and he thought a consolidation fight would weaken his chances. He still wound up losing Marion County to Governor Frank O'Bannon that year.

Mayor Peterson simply dusted off the old Goldsmith plan and re-crafted it as his own. Sheriff Frank Anderson, also a Democrat, initially opposed the consolidation plan but dropped his opposition just days ago.

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