IMPD outlines increase in 2021 budget while some call for defunding the department

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Wednesday presented its $261 million budget for next year to members of the City-County Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee. The department is seeking $7.7 million more than this year’s budget for 2021.

The meeting started at 5:30 p.m. and still had not concluded nearly five hours later.

A group of Black Lives Matter activists also attended the public meeting. One activist said he still wants IMPD defunded, even after hearing the budget presentation. No council members said they favored defunding the police, but some did say they felt the budget was overly optimistic in certain areas.

A $3.3 million increase would cover personnel costs. These personnel costs make up 82% of the budget. The majority of that money comes from IMPD’s general fund and is supplemented by grants. It also fully funds 1,743 officers.

$2.7 million of the department’s budget would be used for body-worn cameras, leases and legal settlements. And about $1.1 million would be used for vehicles and equipment.

The department also wants to budget for equity and wants more money for recruitment aimed at building a team that looks like the community it serves.

IMPD Chief of Police Randal Taylor is opposed to defunding the department.

“That’s going to impact us in some kind of way. The services that we provide are going to take a hit and whether that’s going to be with our patrol officers or specialty units, I think the city is going to see a negative impact,” said Taylor.

The department also wants to invest more in data tracking. Taylor said IMPD follows state requirements and during traffic stops, police are not required to track race. The department would like to see more data tracking for arrests, victims, traffic stop demographics, complaints and use of force data.

Some council members said they want more accountability from IMPD in terms of violent crime. They want to see an in-depth plan to tackle homicides, which the city has seen an increase in comparison to this time last year.

The committee will vote to approve the budget in October. After that it will go to the full council.