Council Republicans denounce delay in distributing Indy’s anti-violence money

INDIANAPOLIS – On June 2, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a proposal to spend an additional $ 3.3 million on police technology and community programs to fight the rise in violent crime in the city.

“We brought it forward a month ago, and it still hasn’t been approved by the full council yet,” said County Councilor Brian Mowery, a Republican from Franklin Township, “and we We’re still looking at months, if not years, away from actually using all that money, so we’re only delaying a potential solution to such a serious problem in our city.

Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder tweeted that since the mayor’s announcement, 153 people have been shot or stabbed in Indianapolis and 23 have been killed.

City officials have said they need to spend taxpayer dollars wisely, even in the face of an immediate crisis of violence, and the full council will not consider the proposal until next week.

“It’s not something we’re going to sit on for months and months and come out on next year,” said Lauren Rodriquez, director of the Office of Public Health and Safety. “It’s a top priority for the mayor’s office, for IMPD, for our office, to send these dollars to the community.

“It is recognized that we need to tackle the immediate problems at the same time as we tackle the long term. We just can’t tackle the immediate problems and think that we are fixing the problems as a whole, ”she said. “These immediate problems were long term problems at one point. We have to make sure we attack it on all fronts.

The mayor has allocated $ 1.5 million to improve intelligence, technology, data collection and monitoring the integrity of the Metropolitan Indianapolis Police Department.

The other $ 1.8 million in proposed grants would fund programs to reduce domestic violence, help at-risk youth, and provide additional mental health services.

“It’s not all police. It’s not all about cops and guns, ”said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams. “It has to be well balanced to address these systemic values, so once you take the individual out of the community who doesn’t deserve to be in our community, you have to have something that comes behind that really addresses those systemic values. .

“This is a long term problem, and there are immediate fixes that need to be addressed right now,” he said, “and I hope this exercise will, but we have to be in this long term area, it is not something that there is a quick fix.

At a county town council public safety and criminal justice committee meeting last month, Republicans called on councilors to meet more than once or twice a month to deal with the violence crisis .

“One of the things we want to do is empower people and hear their updates more frequently,” Mowery said. “We want to see people in front of us twice a month at least so that we can give us updates because we are talking about a serious problem that is really plaguing our city, and we are letting it plague our city, and it doesn’t seem not that we are doing enough to stop it.

Mowery said committee chair Leroy Robinson told him he would bring in other stakeholders from the Criminal Justice Planning Council, including the Marion County Sheriff and Clerk as well as the Office of the public defender, prosecutor and judges, to determine the feasibility of bi-monthly meetings. to provide more information to advisors.

Rodriquez said the city’s request for proposal process cannot be rushed to provide proper verification of proposed plans.

“We have to get it approved before the board, and then we can submit it as a request for proposal to the community to make sure we get the right organization and that grassroots organizations are included in that to expand the work they are doing. do. already do, ”she said. “In anticipation of approval, we’ve drafted the process, so we need to get that final seal of approval, get it approved for public consumption of the application, and then receive the applications back.

“Typically the request is only available in 30 days, and then we look at it very quickly, and we want to make sure we prioritize those dollars, and then we can announce it.”

Mowery said he appreciates guarantees to ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted.

“I think we’ve seen some of that in our city already with some of the programs that we have now,” he said. “I understand where they come from having to control people, and I appreciate that, but I think there needs to be a more expedited process to control these people in order to spend this money earlier.”

Funding will likely not be available until the last quarter of this year.

OPHS will be hosting an information session on July 14 at 6 p.m. at 1828 N. Meridian Street for any organization interested in learning more about the application process. Applications must be submitted online by July 31, 2021. The link to submit an application to the Community Based Violence Prevention Partnership or the COVID-19 Mental Health Services Grants Program can be found here. Any questions or concerns regarding the application portal can be submitted before the final application deadline to [email protected]

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