Metro police officers have been asked to dig into their own pockets to fund essential tools of the job, everything from hand sanitizers to ammunition. Late Monday afternoon, the department issued an email saying that officers should use "personal" funds if they wished to purchase back-up batteries for Taser guns.
In late March, the department issued another bulletin. It read in part that due to budget constraints, IMPD would no longer provide duty training and practice ammunition for personally owned off-duty or back-up weapons. Department policy requires officers who carry off-duty or back-up weapons to qualify with those weapons the same as they would their department-issued firearms.To save money, the Department hasn't purchased new car in two years, and it's hired only one small recruit class. The Department requires officers to purchase their own notebooks and pens, latex gloves and even toilet paper to use at roll-call sites according to the report.
What really bothers me about the problems the city is facing in funding essential services is the large amount of funds it has socked away in TIF funds that it can tap for any number of so-called economic development-related expenses that arise, which typically involve using large sums of public money to finance private development projects. The excuse is always given that those funds are segregated and can only be used for their statutory purpose. Yet the administration and city council keep taking large swaths of property off the regular property tax rolls to expand and create new TIF districts, while they claim the state's property tax cap law is making it difficult to finance basic city services.