|Mayor Greg Ballard|
Ballard vetoed a plan to spend Rebuild Indy money to hire police officers. Admittedly, the program would not have been sustainable after this one-time expense (though the city seems to find money for what it really wants to do all the time even in a budget that has a deficit), but it would have brought some relief to the staffing problem that IMPD is facing right now and allowed the community to find a long term answer to the solution.
Mayor Ballard's answer is coming in July according to the Marion County Republican Party. They claim that Ballard will release a plan that will transfer a number of officers from "desk jobs" to the beat. That won't solve anything. It has administrative backlog written all over it, and it doesn't address the staffing issues. Part of the announcement also said that Ballard would announce the timing of future recruiting classes at that time. I will anxiously await this announcement.
It just seems hard to swallow for some citizens of this city that Indianapolis seems to now be putting other priorities ahead of public safety. That we are putting out one time only expenditures for things like suites at Lucas Oil Stadium and a superfluous upgrade to a city park to bring cricket and Australian Rules Football to Indianapolis.
Ballard points out that the Rebuild Indy funds were from infrastructure improvements to sidewalks, trails, and roads, but what good are those things if people are afraid to use them? If we don't have enough police to help keep people safe, then the community suffers.
I can't imagine that Ballard's veto will sit well with the rank-and-file IMPD officer. They will continue to have to work harder with less resources. Perhaps this is the political payback for the FOP endorsing Melina Kennedy in 2011.
Mayor Ballard's most recent veto revealed a disconnect about what's happening in his city. He's now officially on record as putting cricket over police officers.