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Indy needs cops, not questions over safety at the new justice center

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has 100 openings. In an effort to recruit and retain staff to the department, the sheriff is offering sign on bonuses’ and raises.

A few weeks ago, the sheriff hesitated moving the department to the new justice center because of a lack of staff.

I-Team 8 was told staffing levels are so low that safety is an issue at the new justice center.

“Do you have enough to staff this building?” I-Team 8 asked Chief Deputy Reggie Roney.

“We are on the bottom edge of staffing this building, that is why we are out here every day recruiting people, because we can do it, but we can’t do it as well as we would like to do it” Roney said.  

Chief Deputy Roney has been with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for 52 years. He said he has never seen a time when so few people were willing to put on a police uniform. He says the result is an understaffed jail.

This promoted I-Team 8 to ask, “Is it safe with your staffing levels?” Roney responded with “It is a safe as we can do with our staffing levels.”  

Chief Deputy Roney said all of the inmates have been moved to the new jail. He could not point to any particular incident where a lack of staffing resulted in an injury of staff or an inmate.

The Sheriff’s Department provides courtroom security for the courts. Starting next week, the courts are scheduled to move into the new criminal justice center. 

Staffing for all public safety departments in Marion County is down. IFD seems to be better staffed than others. They plan to hire around 150 people in the next three years. 

“I believe we need to do a better job of educating our community about what we do. As our society changes, our agencies have to change to meet the needs of the community,” Corey Floyd of the Indianapolis Fire Department said. 

Mayor Joe Hogsett has spent all week pushing city jobs. This morning he announced a city-wide public safety hiring event for this coming weekend.  

“We are using American rescue plan dollars to the tune of about $150M across public safety,” Mayor Hogsett said.  

 Earlier this week, I-Team 8 talked to IMPD ‘s Chief of Police Randal Taylor about the violence over the past weekend. 

Increasing the staffing of the department is one of his primary concerns and the department is offering a $5,000.00 signing bonus.

“Do we have enough?” Taylor continued. “Nope. The Mayor and the council have been kind enough to find a way for us to have 2,200 new officers to go from 1,648 to 1,843 and that is much appreciated, but finding those new officers, qualified new officers, is difficult,” Taylor said. 

Both IMPD and the Sheriff’s Department are offering sign on bonuses to new recruits. The Sheriff’s Department also has removed age limitations for new staff.

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