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Skirvin calls for more pressure on prosecutors in Beech Grove mayoral bid

Rick Skirvin, the Republican candidate for mayor of Beech Grove, Indiana, talks Aug. 11, 2023, with News 8. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A Marion County mayoral candidate on Friday said suburban Indianapolis mayors must band together to lobby prosecutors to pursue harsher sentences for violent felons.

Rick Skirvin is the Republican nominee for mayor of Beech Grove, a city of about 14,000 people in southeastern Marion County that is one of a few municipalities outside the jurisdiction of the consolidated Indianapolis-Marion County government. Beech Grove’s current mayor, Democrat Dennis Buckley, is not seeking another term. Skirvin and Democrat James Coffman are the only two candidates running in the Nov. 7 general election.

Skirvin said county officials are not doing a good enough job of enforcing existing gun laws against violent felons, a problem highlighted by this week’s double shooting outside a Beech Grove bar.

“The gun violence that we have on record right now are gun laws I think we should tap into,” he said, adding suburban mayors should work together to push prosecutors to follow through on firearm charges.

Skirvin has said he wants to create a youth diversion program. Asked what that would entail, he said city officials should work with troubled youth to identify problems that might be luring them toward a life of crime and then work to address those issues. Skirvin said he does not support the stricter gun laws, including raising the age to buy a gun to 21 and banning sales of military-style rifles, that both of Indianapolis’ mayoral candidates have endorsed. Gun ordinances passed by the City-County Council would not apply within the city limits of Beech Grove but apply to all of the area outside those limits.

“The people that commit these atrocities are not legal gun owners,” he said. “Prosecuting those gun crimes and locking the people up for a good amount of time as the law allows is a good step forward.”

Beech Grove is landlocked and its largest employer by far is the Beech Grove Shops, Amtrak’s primary maintenance facility. Skirvin said Beech Grove’s ability to collect residential property tax revenue is limited, so he wants to bring in more businesses. He said he wants to pursue federal funding to clean up empty lots and then market them to employers.

“All INdiana Politics” airs at 9:30 a.m. every Sunday on WISH-TV.