INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Part of the $150 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act money proposed for public safety over the next three years would be used to hire 50 “peacemakers,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday.
The “peacemakers” will be working to prevent gun violence and interrupt it if it happens, the Democratic mayor said.
Hogsett had a news conference Wednesday at the City-County Building with the leader of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, which will help the city implement a program to reduce gun violence. David Muhammad, the institute’s executive director, said gun violence is heavily concentrated in specific communities. “Gun violence is tightly concentrated on a small number of individuals who have several high-risk factors.”
“First was to conduct a gun-problem analysis, and our organization did a deep, detailed analysis of gun violence in this city,” Muhammad said.
Hogsett added that, since the people and communities most at risk of gun violence have been determined, the next step is preventing the crimes.
An important part of the plan is to build stronger ties between Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the community because “when you have distrust in law enforcement you have an increase in crime and violence,” Muhammad said.
With the recent launch of an investigation into use of force by an IMPD officer, Muhammad said, building trust could be difficult. He also said the way use-of-force investigation is being handled should ensure the community that officers will be held accountable.
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“You saw the chief of police come out and very emotionally say this is not what we stand for, we are suggesting termination for this officer, and this officer was charged by the county prosecutor,” Muhammad said in reference to a Tuesday news conference by Hogsett and the IMPD chief. “I think that is the kind of accountability that the public wants to see.”
Hogsett first announced the plans for the $150 million from the American Rescue Plan Recovery Act in early August. It’s part of the city’s proposed $1.3 billion for public safety in the 2022 city budget. The City-County Council was expected to finalize the 2022 city budget in a meeting set for Oct. 27.