INDIANAPOLIS — Monday night, dozens of people voiced their concern about the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's request to increase their budget by more than $7 million for this budget year. According to IMPD, the money would help them pay for 1,743 officers and hire more diverse officers to better reflect the community in which they work. The money would also cover things like vehicle upkeep, body cameras, and legal settlements if those arise.
Because of the pandemic, many people sent in their comments online to voice their support against the increase. It took around two hours to get through all the comments. Those, along with the people who showed up in person to speak, all hammered home the same idea: redistribute money meant for IMPD to social service programs in our community.
Many of the comments mentioned helping those who are homeless, on drugs, or those suffering from mental health issues. The commenters reasoned this would take unnecessary strain off IMPD, who they feel shouldn't be answering calls for help when someone is experiencing a mental health episode.
William Sipple was one of many who voiced his opinion. He tells WRTV he came to speak against the increase because of what he saw during the protests over the summer.
"I do believe that it's just not a black and white problem. It's everyone's problem. We're one large community," Sipple said. "If you were going offer more training to officers with that $7 million, not more militarized weapons, not more cars, not body cams that don't work, then maybe people would be for it."
Sipple and several others pointed out they did not feel comfortable with IMPD using any of the money to buy more weapons or chemical agents like tear gas that were used on protesters over the summer.
A few people spoke out for the increase, citing the number of murders that have happened in Indianapolis this year, along with other violent crimes.
City-county councilors will vote on the increase at a later date that has not been announced.