Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Star Editorial Bemoans Private Patrols
An Indianapolis Star editorial today follows up on a front-page report yesterday about how homeowners are banding together to hire off-duty police officers to patrol their neighborhoods because IMPD is spread so thin with declining numbers of police officers that it is not able to cover all of the crime-ridden areas of the city. The editorial correctly points out that the city should be compensated by private security firms which use the full array of police uniforms, guns, squad car, arrest powers and radio contact when employing off-duty police officers. I advocated a fee for this service like most major cities in America charge to security firms who so utilize police officers for off-duty work, but the Star was completely absent from that debate when it took place several years ago. The troubling part of the editorial is the editor's suggestion that the real answer is to raise taxes. Responding to one homeowner's suggestion that he would gladly "pay more in taxes for more police", the Star's editors say that "current fiscal constraints should not tempt the mayor and the council to punt a paramount responsibility [to raise taxes for such a purpose]. Apparently the out-of-town Gannett folks who populate the Star editorial board have no clue that Indianapolis taxpayers raised income taxes 65% five years ago, which was dubbed as a public safety tax increase because it would allow the police to maintain then-current staffing levels and hire at least 100 new police officers. Unfortunately, the mayor and the council chose to spend the money elsewhere and we actually have 300 fewer police officers despite raising income taxes. These same editorial staff members have urged the council to expand the downtown TIF district and create new TIF areas sought by the Ballard administration, which will only further erode the property tax base upon which we rely to fund basic city services, including police and fire services. Should the newspaper's management wonder why so many long-time subscribers have dropped their subscriptions to the newspaper and are not about to pay to access the newspaper's content online?