The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department wants to add 100 officers and increase salaries with an additional $6.4 million in the 2008 budget, reports the Indianapolis Star. Another $900,000 would be earmarked for replacing outdated firearms, adding equipment such as tasers, and improving buildings and office equipment. The City-County Council will vote on the city’s billion-dollar budget Sept. 17. This month, Police Chief Michael Spears said he wants about $21 million more next year to expand policing efforts. He hopes more officers will help curb the crime rate in the city, which he said has declined about 6 percent so far this year. Crimes such as robberies and aggravated assaults have increased, but others, including rapes and homicides, have dropped.
There have been 72 homicides since the beginning of the year, compared with 97 for the same period last year. The Indianapolis Police Department merged Jan. 1 with the law enforcement divisions of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, but other units under the sheriff remain separate. The Sheriff’s Department’s proposed budget includes $2.5 million for salary increases. Sheriff Frank Anderson said the department has struggled with retention in recent years. The new officers would bring the number of Indianapolis police to 1,740 in 2008.