Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday announced a plan to spend more than $3 million on violence-prevention measures. The announcement comes after a spike in violent crime in 2020, including a record number of homicides.
The proposal, which requires approval from the City-County Council, will likely be presented to the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee on June 9.
Under the plan, more than $1.5 million will be directed toward improving capabilities at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Another $370,000 will go to domestic violence reduction, $350,000 to mental health capabilities, $390,000 to juvenile intervention, and $680,000 to expand staffing capacity at the Assessment and Intervention Center
The IMPD investment includes $550,000 for “situational awareness and community interaction systems, for information-gathering and intelligence work;” $180,000 to “upgrade internal technology infrastructure and hardware;” $620,000 to “enhance, analyze, and increase staff levels for data work;” and $170,000 “for an officer intervention system, to increase accountability.”
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor emphasized the importance of “good data” for the department to be more proactive about stopping violence before it happens. The officer intervention system is designed to provide the department with an early warning and accountability if an officer deviates from the police department’s orders and standards.
“While we cannot snap our fingers and stop the violence, I do believe these changes represent important progress in keeping our community safe, and I look forward to seeing those results,” Taylor said.
Officials said the funding also helps address underlying issues of violence, such as mental health, trauma and abusive relationships.
Hogsett emphasized the challenges and stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to individuals, and the resulting mental health impacts.
“The city must work now to provide residents with the resources and support that they need to cope with the stress, the trauma and the pain that no doubt will outlast this pandemic. ” Hogsett said.
Hogsett said that the investments will not create instantaneous change, but rather provide a support to communities. He urged residents to reach out and connect to others around them.
Lauren Rodriguez, director of the city’s Office of Public Health and Safety, said the investment is needed to address domestic violence reduction and juvenile intervention.
It “includes additional assistance to our young people,” Rodriguez said. “Recognizing that mental health issues and trauma are not just adult issues. Left unaddressed, the challenges facing our city’s youth can lead to unhealthy, dangerous and sometimes deadly outcomes.”
The administration said the plan “is the result of nearly a year’s worth of engagement with national best practices and community stakeholders, building upon the Hogsett administration’s dynamic approach to violence prevention over the past five years.”
Indianapolis recorded 245 homicides in 2020 and is on a similar pace in 2021.
Five Republican members of the City-County Council issued a statement after Hogsett’s announcement that said they weren’t asked for input in the mayor’s funding plan.
“Unfortunately, after a quick reading, much of what was announced today seems to be throwing more money at some of the same programs that clearly are not working, the statement said. “If the Mayor and Council Democrats want to get serious about reducing the historic levels of violent crime in Indianapolis, it is time we get all interested parties to the table to begin to work on a solution.”