POLICE UNION BLASTS INDY MAYOR

INDIANAPOLIS (WOWO): The head of the police union in Indianapolis joined several City-County Council members in calling for an override of the mayor‘s veto of funding for police equipment.

Mayor Greg Ballard vetoed Proposition 47, which was approved by the council in late March and would provide $4.7 million to buy new police cars and make repairs to police department buildings. The money would be revenue from the increase in the public safety tax agreed to by the mayor and council in 2014.

“This is the balance left over after the hiring of 155 police officers,” said Rick Snyder, president of Local 86 of the Fraternal Order of Police, saying that the revenue would not be available for equipment if the city holds on to it until next year. “We collectively as a city, including the mayor, agreed to raise a tax specifically for public safety just for this purpose.”

Ballard‘s veto message said that no one from the Department of Public Safety requested the items in the proposition to be placed in the next city-county budget. “
Council Democrats did not consult with DPS or the City Controller to determine priorities or fiscal impact. A brief meeting or even a phone call to either department would have allowed city staff to explain that plans are already in the works for a regional firing range, and investment in the current facility is not wise,” Ballard said.

The proposal passed with bipartisan support, 24-to-4 – 20 votes would be needed to override Ballard‘s veto. Snyder said the money is desperately needed, “to replace up to 100 police cars for our offices, make engineering improvements at our firearms training range and expanding our capacity to be able to train more officers at our training academy.” Snyder says around one-third of the department‘s vehicles have more than 100,000 miles on them.

The city-county government recently purchased around 100 pursuit vehicles and another 100 electric vehicles as part of the conversion of the city‘s fleet to all electric or hybrid cars. Snyder says cars taken out of patrol service would be converted for administrative use, but he says most of those cars have well over 100,000 miles already and would cost taxpayers more to maintain. he council could vote on whether to override the mayor as early as its next meeting on Monday, April 20.