Indianapolis to beef up police presence on streets

More than 100 more police officers will be deployed within the next few weeks on Indianapolis' streets to combat a rise in violent crime, under a plan unveiled by the mayor and other city officials.

More police resources are to come. An additional 40 officers will join patrol duty by the end of next year. The Department of Public Safety also will fund two classes of police recruits, containing a total of at least 100 officers, by 2016. Mayor Greg Ballard, Police Chief Rick Hite and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs announced the plan Monday.

“This plan addresses our city’s immediate need for more police officers on the street and our long-range need to be able to pay for it,” Ballard said. “This plan will help lower crime in our neighborhoods.  It will put more police where we need them, on the streets of Indianapolis, and it does so in a fiscally responsible way, meaning we already know how to pay for it.”

The influx of 116 patrol officers within the next few weeks will be made possible by reassigning them from other duties, according to city officials. Some of those positions will be filled by civilians. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department plans to hire 10 civilians by the end of 2013, and another 35 in 2014.

City officials insisted prior to the announcement that the plan was in the works for months before a recent spike in violent crime. The city recorded 16 homicides in June, and a 16-year-old boy died after being shot outside downtown's Circle Centre mall following a Fourth of July fireworks show Thursday night.

Ballard in June vetoed a City-County Council measure to shift $6 million in funds to hire more police officers. At the time, Ballard's office said the city would "release a plan to move 100 officers from desk jobs to the street in a responsible manner that will help reduce crime and does not add to our budget deficit."

The Thursday night shooting at an intersection two blocks south of Monument Circle killed 16-year-old Monquize Edwards of Indianapolis. No other injuries were reported, and no arrests were immediately made.

The violence followed the end of the fireworks show that drew tens of thousands of people downtown, but police Lt. Chris Bailey said the fireworks crowd had largely dispersed by the time the shooting occurred.

He said officers were moving a large crowd of teens away from the mall just before the shooting.

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