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Indianapolis City-County Council approves $3.3 million violent prevention investments plan

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Posted at 9:44 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-12 23:51:43-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis City-County Council voted Monday night to approve $3.3 million in violence prevention investments.

The proposal passed with a 23-2 vote. Democratic Councilors Ethan Evans, District 4, and Keith Graves, District 13, voted against the proposal.

Several people from the community spoke at the meeting in support of and against the proposal during the public hearing.

One person, who didn't state their name, said they are a citizen of Indianapolis and works with a non-profit striving for social justice through policy change and raising awareness. They said they believe a lot of what IMPD does and the public safety the department can offer doesn't require more funding.

"My organization has been looking at the general orders of IMPD and we have revised nine of them to increase public safety, community and police relations as well as to protect constitutional rights and human rights of individuals," they said.

The organization, which wasn't identified by a specific name, plans to present them next week to the general order review board. They said the organization has taken strides in public health and safety issues, like creating a grocery prescription program to help people in food deserts.

"That is something that requires money, but like I said not everything requires money and I look forward to a continued partnership with IMPD," they said. "They've been responsive throughout this process and I appreciate just beginning to learn the way our city works."

But some people spoke in support of the additional funding and pushed back the calls to defund the police.

“Over the last five years, the city has been squarely focused on data-based solutions to violence and programming that addresses the long-term, root causes of crime,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said in a press release after the vote. “As cities across the country also see alarming increases in gun violence, we must continue to seek innovative, localized solutions to tackling this multilayered issue. This set of investments is vital to continue moving those efforts forward.”

According to a press release from the mayor's office, the plan was constructed after community engagement and consultation with the New York University Criminal Justice Lab, residents, council members, community-based organizations and local leaders.

$1.5 million to enhance IMPD's technology

The plan includes more than $1.5 million to enhance IMPD's technology and systems, according to the mayor's office press release in June. The following are included in the plan:

  • $550,000 for situational awareness and community interaction systems. The city says it will enhance information-gathering and intelligence working.
  • $180,000 to upgrade internal technology infrastructure and hardware
  • $620,000 to enhance, analyze and increase staff levels for data work to target those who are most likely to commit or experience gun violence.
  • $170,000 for an officer intervention system to increase accountability and provide early warning when officers deviate from IMPD's standards.

Working with the Information Services Agency, the situational awareness software will bring together information to allow IMPD to map priority locations down to specific blocks or properties, according to the mayor's office. This will then allow IMPD and partners to focus resources, social services and community engagement in the priority locations.

In June, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said the plan would give officers additional insight as they combat violent crime, enhance the department's accountability to the community, improve trust and open lines of communication with residents.

“This is a critical step for IMPD as the department looks to continue streamlining information and resources,” Taylor said in a press release after Monday's vote. “These investments will also ensure IMPD has the most up-to-date data to use in our response and for analysis. IMPD remains committed to combatting crime and gun violence by using strategic and comprehensive solutions.”

$1.8 million in non-law enforcement public safety investments

The plan includes nearly $1.8 million in non-law enforcement investments. Lauren Rodriguez, director of the Office of Public Health and Safety, said in June these investments will directly address many elements contributing to the cycles of violence.

According to a press release from the mayor's office in June, these investments include:

  • $370,000 for domestic violence reduction, victim response services and funding for domestic violence interrupters
  • $350,000 to add mental health expertise to the 911 dispatch and building out juvenile mental health and trauma resources
  • $390,000 for grant funding for local organizations and at-risk youth programming
  • $680,000 to expand staffing at the Assessment and Intervention Center. The center diverts low-level offenders and evaluates their health and social needs.

“Addressing violent crime requires community-based solutions,” Rodriguez said after Monday's vote. “By bolstering existing organizations’ efforts with a particular focus on intimate partner violence prevention, juvenile intervention, and mental health issues, we are able to empower grassroots leaders to make real and lasting change in their own neighborhoods.”

Proposed amendment for more technology

A motion to amend the proposal to add more technology, like a gunshot detection system and license plate readers, was introduced Monday by Paul Annee, R-District 23.

Some community members spoke in support of and against the amendment. Leaders of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, including Chief Randal Taylor, said the department would not be in support of technology, like the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, at this time.

The motion failed with a 20-5 vote.