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Police union survey finds morale awful as IMPD pushes to hire more cops

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett says he wants to bring Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department up to around 1,750 sworn officers, and he say that he has the money to do so.

The challenge will be finding people to take the jobs. 

“It is a very demanding process, and we always recruit vigorously. Unfortunately, some of the recruits don’t make it through the process,” Hogsett said. 

Those who do make it through the process can expect first-year salaries as recruit patrolmen of $53,000. The annual salary jumps to just under $62,000 the second year, and, by Year 3 , a street cop is paid $75,000 plus benefits and retirement. The cops with experience, though, catch the eye of police agencies in surrounding communities.

IMPD Chief Randal Taylor told News 8 that he would like to have the department fully staffed by the end of 2021. However, he said, the job has changed, officers are looking for better surroundings, “and money is not going to be the thing that is necessarily going to keep them.”

IMPD has eased some requirements for new officers. The department has increased age limit for new cops to 36 years old. Certified police officers from out of state are now welcome to make lateral moves. Plus, IMPD has adopted a more liberal take-home car policy.

However, Rick Snyder of the Fraternal Order of Police in Indianapolis said a survey of its membership found that close to 90% said morale was awful in the Indianapolis department.

“People will die for something. They will not die for nothing and when they see politicians decriminalizing the criminals while at the same time depolicing the police — and further more dehumanizing and demoralizing those that are already doing the job — they don’t want to come here and do it,” Snyder said. 

Some officers who have been with the department for a while are looking around. In years past, Indianapolis Police Department would have 3,000 applications for 30 openings. Recently, the department received around 300 applications for current openings.

IMPD is one of 34 departments in Indiana looking for new cops.  

“When people are looking at the landscape it is an employee’s market. They have the choices to pick where they want to go and they are going to look for communities where the political structure isn’t ashamed to support their police officers,” Snyder said.