Marion County, IN Sheriff Frank Anderson will relinquish control of Indianapolis area’s police to the newly elected administration of Mayor Greg Ballard, says the Indianapolis Star. The agreement ended a dispute that began when Ballard won election in November and promised to follow through on his campaign pledge to clarify the chain of command in public safety. The command changeover is scheduled for Feb. 29. After a little more than a year in charge of the merged police force, the Democratic sheriff said he felt it best to “put politics aside,” though his opinion that he should remain in charge had not changed. To end a public feud, Anderson avoided a political showdown that he could not have won in the Republican-controlled city council. By announcing agreement before the panel hearing, Anderson avoided the possibility of police officers testifying about the department’s problems and why many preferred to be under the mayor’s authority.
Anderson became the department’s leader last year when the Indianapolis Police and Marion County Sheriff’s departments were merged. In pushing for the merger, then-Mayor Bart Peterson had proposed a power-sharing arrangement, but backed off after Anderson withheld his support unless he was given ultimate control. Anderson’s tenure was marked by low morale among police officers unhappy with the merger and a spike in crime that hit many urban areas across the country. Anderson has now ping-ponged from being sheriff of a 400-person suburban department to controlling the largest police force in Indiana to becoming the only sheriff in the state without a territory to protect.