Crime Watch 8

Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police says officers lack morale, feel unsupported amid near-record homicide count

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis is approaching a record number of homicides, and the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police says that’s taking a toll on some neighborhoods and the officers who patrol them.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 86 oversees 3,000 active and retired officers across the city. President Rick Snyder told News 8 many of those officers are frustrated and don’t feel supported by elected officials to do their jobs efficiently.

The city has recorded 177 homicides this year, as of Monday. Snyder said crime this year is the most he’s ever seen.

“If our elected officials would do that, provide some vision, some direction and leadership that would help greatly, but instead you can’t find them. They’re missing in action,” Snyder said.

Snyder asked for a commission to be established to discuss how to combat crime to City-County Council members in February. The council voted against a crime study to come up with solutions to combat violence.

There were four homicides later that evening.

Mayor Hogsett, City-County Council President Vop Osili and the Public Safety Committee said they had a plan to decrease violence.

“Since February until now many, many more people have died,” mentioned Snyder. “Our question is very simple: Where is their plan? Where is their action?”

Synder said in a climate survey issued by the FOP, nine out of 10 officers do not feel supported under the mayor’s administration, and 90% of the department is suffering from low morale.

“For all of the hiring we’ve done over the past four years, we’ve only had a net gain of two or six officers, depending on how you do the calculations,” Snyder said. “Hundreds of officers hired. A net gain of two. What’s that tell you? It tells you more are leaving that we can bring in the front door.”

Snyder is asking for more officers, technology like cameras inside of neighborhoods to combat crime and to keep repeat offenders off the streets.

Council members are currently deciding on whether to appoint civilians to oversee the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s polices and whether the department’s proposed budget for next year will be approved.

Snyder feels elected officials aren’t moving in the right direction to support law enforcement and hopes they will reconsider.

“They’re not the ones out there in the middle of the night; we are! I think when they realize that, we’ll see that there’s too much at stake to stand divided on this issue,” added Snyder.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office released this statement on Monday evening:

“Over the past five years, Mayor Hogsett has made a number of meaningful investments in IMPD including millions of dollars in technology upgrades, raises for new IMPD recruits, and fully-funded staffing for 1743 officers. It’s also clear that the men and women of IMPD can’t tackle the root causes of violence alone. That’s why we have spent millions of dollars to fund community-based public safety and violence reduction efforts, as well as expanded victim and witness assistance programs.”

A spokesperson for the City-County Council said this issue is at the forefront of every councilor’s mind, and of course, many of those in the community as well, but did not provide a full statement at this time.