After a summer of increasing concern about Indianapolis violence, and after mixed messages on crime fighting were sent by the Ballard Administration, Mayor Greg Ballard unveiled a proposal to fight crime and violence and address some of the root causes of the violence in the city. As expected, the Mayor endorsed proposals by a bipartisan committee that the number of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers be increased. The Mayor proposes an increase of 0.15 cents on the city’s local option income tax to be used for public safety. While some of those dollars must be shared with other public county public safety agencies like Prosecutor, Sheriff, Courts and police agencies in Lawrence, Speedway and Beech Grove, at least $15 Million would be available to add more police officers. The surprise in the Mayor’s proposal is to take property tax money and use it as part of an initiative to spend $25 million over five years to provide funding to upgrade preschool facilities in Indianapolis/Marion County to Level 3 and Level 4 Quality Pre-Schools as recommended by the United Way. The Mayor’s proposal would also provide funds to allow up to 1,300 additional four year olds to attend quality preschools in the city. Mayor Ballard also proposed a number of other items including tightening the curfew for 15 to 17 year olds; looking at the problems of dropouts and expulsions in city schools,
In a special extended segment of Afternoons with Amos, Mayor Ballard Communications Director Marc Lotter explained more of the Mayor’s Proposal. Lotter denied that Ballard’s proposal was a reworked version of a proposal to upgrade preschool proposed three years ago by then Democratic Mayoral candidate Melina Kennedy. She had proposed using funds from the Water Company sale to fund preschool. A proposal Ballard scoff at then. Lotter couldn’t really explain the other major surprise in the Mayor’s proposal. The failure of the Mayor’s plan to provide serious multi-million dollars in funding for programs and initiatives that work directly with youth aged 10 to 20, especially those 13 to 17 to turn them away from crime now, not years from now.
Fraternal Order of Police Vice-President Rick Snyder, while grateful that the Mayor’s endorsed hiring more police offices, feels the number isn’t enough. Snyder feels 500 more officers are needed in the next few years to meet the need and just to bring IMPD back to the levels of IPD and the Sheriff’s Department had before the 2007 merger. City-County Council President Maggie Lewis has supported the FOP effort at more police. She was wary though of the Mayor’s plan and indicated that while mainstream media were brief about the plan the evening before the Mayor’s official announcement, she, as Council President still hadn’t been briefed. Lewis wasn’t the only one kept in the dark. The city’s major Black newspaper, the Indianapolis Recorder and Radio One, including AM1310 The Light were excluded by the Mayor’s Office and communications staff from advance briefings on the Mayor’s Proposal. Briefings the city’s other media were invited to. Despite the deliberate Black media snub, Afternoons with Amos and YOUR LIFE MATTERS has compiled complete information on Mayor Ballard’s Crime Fighting and Pre-School proposals. Click Media Player to hear The Mayor’s Full Speech and the Afternoons with Amos Discussion with Marc Lotter, Maggie Lewis, Rick Snyder and Listeners. Click the Links To Read Details of the Mayor’s Plan.
Mayor Ballard Speech On Crime Fighting And Pre-School. Runs 21 Minutes.
Afternoons with Amos Reaction To Mayor Proposal. Runs 67 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.