Hogsett proposes $300,000 for witness-protection program

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has identified $300,000 in city funds that he says can be spent to create a witness-protection program for people who assist local police with criminal investigations.

Hogsett announced Tuesday that he directed the Office of Finance and Management to identify the $300,000 as a method of strengthening trust between the Indianapolis community and local law enforcement. That trust is particularly important when officers ask witnesses to participate in criminal investigations and trials, he said.

However, fear of reprisal for cooperating with police and other similar concerns has created “serious challenges when it comes to ensuring the testimony of vital witnesses at trial,” the mayor said. Community groups such as the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition have also recently spoken out about the need for stronger cooperation between local law enforcement and witnesses to crimes.

The funds do not impact the 2018 city budget, but will require approval from the City-County Council before they are allocated.

“With this funding identified, my hope is that in the coming weeks our public safety officials will work together to create a well-crafted plan that will make our community, and all its citizens, safer,” Hogsett said.

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