Since 2007, Indianapolis has raised income taxes twice in order to hire new police officers. The first time, city leaders promised to add 100. The next, as many as 150. Yet on Sept. 1, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had 59 fewer officers than it did before the first tax hike took effect, reports the Indianapolis Star. The city is spending 33 percent more on police — an estimated $259 million this year, including retiree pensions — than it did in 2007.
Meanwhile, murders continue to rise. Indianapolis already has recorded 100 homicides this year, putting it on pace to break 2014’s record-setting 144. Nonfatal shootings are up more than 20 percent. Officials blame troubles growing the police force on a number of factors: the recession and property tax caps, the rising costs of health care and equipment, and challenges associated with attrition. An Indianapolis Star analysis of city budget documents and payroll records found that the biggest reason the city is spending more for fewer cops also is one of the least discussed: pay raises for police. The 1,600 or so officers get paid upwards of 25 percent more today than they did nine years ago.