Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ballard Administration Intentionally Exacerbates Funding For More Police To Force Tax Increase

In what can only be described as a deliberate act on the part of the Ballard administration to pressure the Indianapolis City-County Council into raising taxes to hire more police officers, the administration chose not to re-apply for a federal COPS grant for the next three fiscal years that would have funded 15 to 20 full-time additional police officers during that period. The administration told Fox 59 News that it didn't apply for the grant money because it would have been irresponsible to do so without enough money to pay for the positions when the grant money expires. In other words, the mayor has no intention of finding additional money to hire more cops unless the council passes a tax increase. Yet his administration has been relying for the past three years on a federal COPS to fund 50 full-time police officer positions. I don't recall Mayor Ballard saying that was irresponsible as he sought re-election in 2011 when he was boasting about reducing crime while honestly balancing the city's budget.

During the IMPD Staffing Commission deliberations, the Ballard administration repeatedly represented to the commission members that part of its future funding of police officers included applying for a new COPS grant. IMPD received full funding for 50 full-time positions the past three years despite the fact that the City did not actually use that money to hire additional police officers. In fact, the number of full-time police officers actually fell during that period. The Ballard administration used money it received from the COPS grant to pay for existing police officers. The Justice Department could have forced the City to repay that money since it failed to comply with the terms of the grant, but since the federal government just passes out money like candy, it chose not to penalize the City for failing to comply with the terms of the grant.

This latest news came as leaders of the local FOP flew out to Washington this past week to meet with members of Indiana's congressional delegation to plea for more federal dollars. The FOP claim without proof that the recent shooting deaths of two IMPD officers is to blame on too few police officers patrolling the streets.  “Somebody has got to do something, and just like I said it’s time for people to stop talking about it. I’m tired of talking about it, you’re tired of listening,” said FOP Prsesident Bill Owensby. Of course, Owensby could care less whether any additional funding is used to hire more police officers. His organization didn't start clamoring for a tax increase to support funding for more police officers until it became apparent that promised pay increases for police couldn't be funded. Police received generous pay raises following the enactment of the 65% increase in the local income tax dubbed the public safety tax in 2007 that was supposed to fund at least 100 additional police officers. The FOP never complained then about officer safety when the money from the tax increase wasn't used to hire more police officers as promised to the public.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that Greg Ballard and acting mayor Ryan Vaughn have long failed the City is so many ways- public safety being at the top of the list... but I also think the majority of the City Council is culpable in making Indianapolis virtually rudderless when it comes to being responsible to the taxpayers first and foremost. When will the Councilors stand up for the people in "real" causes other than grandstand positions and grandstand "causes" geared solely for re-election? Maggie Smith sure appears to be a huge sell-out to the Ballard group and there aren't many more Library CEO positions to give away in exchange. Other than Christine Scales, CC Councilors of both parties are for the most part pretty miserable.

Media headline grabbing antics like the moronic landlord regulation and now the "look at me, coal stinks" group... what a bunch of cartoon characters they are.

Anonymous said...

Ballard-Straub put Public Safety on the back burner.

Why is Emergency Management having access to Law Enforcement data? -The functions are significantly different.

If Ballard would get rid of bike lanes that we ALL HATE, stop wasting money on Cricket field that we will not patronize and do not want, stop wasting City tax money on Black Expo, and stop giving tax money to millionaires....well, perhaps we could fund police properly.

Anonymous said...

As a Veteran, Mayor Ballard should also have a Veterans Service Officer as Indiana law requires it and the Indiana Code states that person has to be a Veteran
Mayor Ballard only has a Veteran Coordinator and the person is not a veteran.

Anonymous said...

Did Ballard chose not to apply for the grant or was it that the administration did not file in timely manner?