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Marion County sheriff: More funding would increase deputy safety

Marion County Sheriff’s Office asks for $14 million budget increase

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Sheriff’s Office is fighting for more money in the wake of the death of Deputy John Durm, who was killed by a jail inmate in July.

Marion County Sheriff Kerry Forestal says that more money means safer deputies.

“I do (think more funding would increase deputy safety),” he said. “I think the challenge (is continuing) to train people and have them move to other agencies that pay higher – (that) puts all of our people at risk. If we can retain (officers), that’s going to be good for us and good for the community.”

Forestal wants to push for raises next year when the collective bargaining agreement allows. This year, the budget asked for an over $14 million increase for the sheriff’s office.

Opposition spoke against this at the meeting discussing the budget, including Stephen Lane, who spoke as a representative with ‘Answer Now to Stop War Coalition.’

“The conditions at the justice center sound deplorable,” Lane said. “More of this funding needs to go to fund mental health resources (in the city).”

City-County Council member Frank Mascari says he is concerned with the number of people sentenced to state prison being held in the Marion County jail. He says there are 300 prisoners in the jail instead of state facilities, and it is only reimbursed $37.50 a day.

“We’re getting short-falled. It’s as simple as that,” Mascari said. “It’s state laws. They don’t like the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in the state house. They will do anything and everything they can against them.”

This year’s budget increase will primarily go to covering overtime costs, which is needed due to short staffing.