In a news conference at her campaign headquarters, Melina Kennedy announced her plan to fight crime in Indianapolis when she takes office in January 2012. It's realistic, measurable and completely appropriate.
Fitting in with her "Making Indianapolis a Quality of Life Capital" theme, Kennedy, who was flanked by Sheriff John Layton and Prosecutor Terry Curry, articulated a clear plan with eight parts.
Here is the news release from the Kennedy campaign:
Today, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and Marion County Sheriff John Layton joined me as I announced my plan to enhance the quality of life throughout our city through crime fighting and crime prevention.
Four years ago, candidate Greg Ballard said public safety was job number 1, but the fact is, crime is up, including aggravated assaults. Crime prevention has been cut, there are fewer officers patrolling our streets, and residents across our city feel less safe than they did four years ago.
And Mayor Ballard’s recent decision to restructure police patrols from beat coverage to zone coverage signals the death knell for community policing.
This morning, I reemphasized my commitment to initiatives aimed at promoting strong, smart, credible and accountable public safety. We need to add 100 officers to the streets. We need to get illegal guns, gangs and drugs, which are assaulting our city, off our streets and out of our neighborhoods. And though partnerships with the Prosecutor, the Sheriff, federal agencies and community groups, we need to restore crime prevention initiatives cut by the current administration, so that we can stop crime before it starts. We must do all these things to provide true community policing.
My plan, including my commitment to put 100 additional officers on the streets, is revenue neutral and can be done without a tax increase.
I am sure you will agree with me that we can do better, and that the residents of Indianapolis deserve a mayor who follows through on commitments to make Indianapolis safe and secure. And we need public safety leadership that is accountable.
In the coming weeks, I will also announce additional elements to this plan specifically addressing crimes against women and children.
Here's my eight point plan to Enhance Quality of Life through Crime Fighting and Crime Prevention:
1) True Community Policing
2) Increase the Number of Police Officers on the streets
3) Attack Illegal Guns
4) Crime Prevention
5) Bi-partisan Crime Statistics Task Force
6) Creation of Drug Enforcement and Initiatives Director
7) Centralized Grants Office
Please review my plan and other supporting documents, which will be posted on my website...
As stated above, Kennedy's plan would put 100 more officers on the streets in the city. John Tuohy of the Indianapolis Star reports that the 100 officers would come from 50 currently on force and 50 new officers. Over four years, this is a very reasonable goal. Mayor Bart Peterson promised 200 new officers on the streets, and he did that. Kennedy can get 100 in these tough economic times. Greg Ballard promised a crazy 750 more officers during his campaign in 2007. He's not even remotely close to that number.
Kennedy's plan also covers crime prevention. Previously, she announced plans to use water deal money to help young children arrive in schools more ready to learn. Tuohy also wrote that Kennedy wishes to make stronger "community partnerships" to help fight crime. We saw perhaps a preview of this type of tactic with Indiana Black Expo's volunteer plan that helped to head off violence on the second weekend of the Summer Celebration.
I look forward to seeing the details behind Kennedy's plan. I am also interested to see how the fifth and sixth plank of her plan are going to work and the details behind them. I think they are excellent ideas.
This again is another strong, clear plan from Melina Kennedy who has had a very good week on the campaign trail.