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GOP candidate for mayor picks choice for police chief

Republican mayoral candidate in Indianapolis chooses police chief

Richard Essex | News 8 at 6 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Bill Benjamin has a presence about him.

Before becoming an Indianapolis cop in 1984, he played for the Indianapolis Colts but didn’t see a lot of playing time.

Today, when Republican mayoral candidate Jim Merritt said, if elected, he would hire Benjamin as chief of police, he was there for the announcement.

“This is a public invitation, and he will speak on this himself,” Merritt said.

Benjamin has, according to Merritt, been instrumental in helping develop a crime prevention program for the campaign.

“I have known him for a long time and I’m anxious for him to tell the media his answer,” Merritt said.

Election Day will be Nov. 5, and Indianapolis voters will choose between Merritt and Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat who entered the office in 2016. Crime and public safety have been the pegs that Merritt’s campaign have attempted to hang its hat on. Recently released FBI stats indicated violent crime is trending down in Indianapolis with one exception: homicide.

“I’m working day to day. I’m most concerned about the 114 people being murdered in 2019 and almost 600 people being murdered in Joe Hogsett’s term,” Merritt said.

The latest FBI stats show homicide numbers are creeping up. A statement sent out by the Hogsett’s campaign said the city is on track to see a year-to-year reduction in criminal homicides.

The city on Thursday sent to the media the criminal homicides numbers for the year to date. They indicate 122 criminal homicide reports, 35 of which have been cleared.

Thursday’s announcement caught the attention of Lois Love. She has lived in this near-east side neighborhood for 68 years and was not saying which candidate for mayor she supports. But, she was critical of the the mayor’s safety walks.

“You are not going to do anything walking up and down the street. You got to have some stationary buildings in the neighborhood to conquer some of this that is happening now,” Love said.

Benjamin is expected to address the media next week.