Indiana County Sheriff Reports Vast Understaffing


The Marion County, Ind., Sheriff’s Department would need to more than double in size to handle the rise in crime that has followed a suburban population explosion over the past 13 years, Sheriff Frank Anderson said yesterday. The Indianapolis Star reports that Anderson said he would settle for 25 new deputies.

Anderson’s proposal got a cool reception. Each new deputy would cost $65,000 to $105,000, depending on experience. Like many local governments, Marion County is in the midst of difficult financial times. Because of limited funds, one City-County Council member called Anderson’s request for more deputies “kind of useless.”

Sheriff’s Capt. Mark Wood said the Sheriff’s Department staffing would have to increase to 1,375 deputies from 410 to match the Indianapolis Police Department’s staffing level relative to the population it serves.

From 1990 to 2003, population in the once-rural townships of Marion County grew 81 percent — to 458,530 people from 253,392. Meanwhile, the number of deputies assigned to patrol that territory shrunk 5 percent, to 410 from 433. The Indianapolis Police Department has grown to a force of 1,200 officers. The city patrols 86 square miles with an officer-to-resident ratio of 1-to-261. Sheriff’s deputies cover 287 square miles with a ratio of 1-to-1,118 people.


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