Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Police Merger Study Confirms No Net Savings Achieved

When the City-County Council adopted the merger of law enforcement responsibilities between the former Indianapolis Police Department and the Marion Co. Sheriff's Department into a consolidated Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 2007, the report that recommended the consolidation forecasted annual savings of about $9 million a year. A newly-released report prepared by KSM for the council confirms that the merger actually led to higher, not reduced costs.

At least half of the savings was supposed to come from reduced personnel costs. Those savings never materialized for several reasons, including: sheriff's deputies' pay had to be increased to reach parity with the pay of their counterparts in IPD; savings from social security contributions was lost when the deputies voted to continue participation in both social security and their police pension plans; and less overtime pay from better management failed to occur. A new contract with police that offered more generous pay raises than provided to other city-county employees further exacerbated spending on police. Savings in fleet management also never materialized.

IMPD reached peak staffing levels in the first year of the merger in 2007 with 1635 full-time sworn officers. That number had fallen by nearly 100 by last year, even with the public safety tax increase enacted in 2007, which raised local income tax rates 65% and promised funding for at least 100 additional officers. While the sheriff's department saw savings from transferring 390 merit law enforcement officers into the newly-organized IMPD initially, growth elsewhere in its budget in subsequent years has more than surpassed its spending levels prior to the merger. Prior to the merger, IPD and the sheriff's department spent a combined amount of $265 million. That figure grew to more than $331 million last year. Last year's sheriff's department spending of $110 million was about $1 million more than pre-merger spending. IMPD's pre-merger spending grew from $155 million to $221 million last year.

The administration and fiscally irresponsible members of the City-County Council are now seeking another $25 million a year increase in taxes by eliminating the homestead property tax credit and raising local income tax rates. Pay raises promised behind-closed doors to the FOP under a new contract will consume most of the new revenues. More importantly, the plan to build a new criminal justice center will increase annual outlays tens of millions annually once it's brought online, necessitating yet another tax increase within a few short years.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons there is no savings with the Police merger is the exploding budget of the Marion County Sheriff.
That department was allowed to expand to the workforce of pre-merger status. Look at their budget the pre-merger date and look today, I don't have the means to look, but I do know their manpower is almost were it was pre-merger, the only difference is now they don't have merit officers, their all civilians, and don't have to have ILEA certified like IMPD or the rest of the State of Indiana. The Sheriff waves his wan, now your a deputy!

Gary R. Welsh said...

The total staff of the sheriff's department was 1352 prior to the merger, including 1018 deputies. The year following the merger, its total staff was 912, including 646 deputies. Last year, the sheriff had a staff of 989, including 676 deputies.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I think it's important to point out that a number of those deputies employed by the sheriff do perform law enforcement-related duties that would otherwise have to be employed by IMPD. The IMPD Staffing Commission Report is very misleading when it compares the size of our police force to other cities. For example, it includes municipalities within Marion County (i.e. Lawrence, Speedway, Beech Grove, etc.) that have their own police forces, but it doesn't exclude their population numbers from the city's size when comparing the number of people served per police officer. If that number mattered, Detroit should have one of the safest cities in America. It's smaller than Indianapolis but has about 1,000 more police officers.

C. Roger Csee said...

1) Knowledgeable people tried for almost three years to convince people that the "con"solidation was a fraud, & would cost the public more money. Nobody would listen.
2) There are no "Pay raises promised behind-closed doors to the FOP under a new contract" that I am aware of. Contracts with IPD/IMPD are public documents. You should realize that at least two times, the police had their contractual pay raises delayed by 6 months in order for the city to have money to do other things. The police also had to settle for contracts that gave a ZERO increase for at least one year.
3) Why isn't someone trying to find out why MCSO has so many fully marked, fully equipped (INCLUDING RADAR) vehicles? They have no patrol duties, so why do they need that equipment?
They also get their car washes paid for and uniforms issued and dry cleaning paid for by tax dollars.
4) Why does the MCSO need so many deputy chiefs? Why do they create positions for the favored people? How many high ranking people were transferred to IMPD, then a short time later, returned to MCSO with a new title and high rank (Eva Talley-Sanders)?
What about Lieutenant Colonel Louis A. Dezelan who was replaced as IFD Chief?
There is a lot more to this story than is being published.

Anonymous said...

The merger should save money and the CCC needs to act and make it happen.

1. Require a job description for all MCSD jobs, with commensurate pay scale. (This would eliminate the cronyism that currently takes place as pointed out by Anon 10:18). The cronyism MUST GO in order to save money. Every "good-ole-boy" currently can call the Sheriff (D) and get a make-work, do-nothing job with a county car, that is unjustified. Prime example: The former fire chief appointed under that system as a "lieutenant colonel" in the Sheriff Dept, with no law enforcement or corrections experience. Requiring a CCC approved job description and approval to create every position would trim the fat out of the Sheriff Dept.

2. The CCC should require a written justification for any MCSD member with a take-home car and funding for same only given if justification is shown. (Keeping in my he does not provide emergency services, I can't think of any readily justifiable reason for a take-home car.) This would provide a great savings in terms of vehicles, maintenance, and gas.

Anonymous said...

So is IMPD going to be returned to the supervision and authority of the Marion County Sheriff? Will IMPD officers will answer to MCSO?

Very interesting.

Mary Roger Bowser said...

Anon 2:04 PM - why would IMPD be returned to the control of the sheriff? It is a city police agency. The city is headed by the mayor, not the sheriff.
Sheriffs are responsible for taking care of the jail, court room security, and serving papers. In rural areas, they do have patrol functions, along with the state police, but Indianapolis city is the entire county (except for the exempt towns.)