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Mayor Hogsett proposing major department restructure

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – City-County councilors in Indianapolis will consider a big change to city government. Mayor Joe Hogsett says the change will allow him to better tackle crime.

Mayor Hogsett is proposing restructuring the Department of Public Safety.  It would ultimately make him the director, which would allow him to immediately oversee both the Indianapolis police and fire departments.

Hogsett says this change is part of a campaign promise to cut crime and improving the health of the city. 24-Hour News 8 talked to current director of public safety Dr. David Wantz about the proposal. He says the new structure would take out a layer of bureaucracy between the police department and the mayor’s office and save taxpayer money.

The mayor would be able to communicate his ideas on reducing crime and improving the community directly to the Chief of Police and the chief of the Fire department. Dr. Wantz also says the mayor’s goal is to not just use police force to change the community but to address underlying health issues.

“So the mayor’s intention in the reorganization is to focus more on the healthiness of the community and improve the health of the community because if you take a public health model for reducing crime then you see there are other factors that need to be solved for crime not to find a fertile place to grow,” said Dr. Wantz.

What about the department itself? The proposal would eliminate the Department of Public Safety and create a brand new office.  That office will be known as the “Office of Public Health and Safety” and will be under the direction of the mayors office.  Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services, The Ruben engagement center, Re-entry services and public safety communications will be a part of the new Department of Public Safety and Health.

Wantz believes Animal Care and Control will most likely go to code enforcement and the citizens complaint office will go to the mayor’s office.

Several committees will need to look this proposal over before it’s voted on.  One of those committees meets Tuesday night. The first major vote could come Monday April 11th.

Check the full proposal below.