Marion County Police Department Fears Shutting Down Sheriff Arrested People Transportation Worsens Public Safety Concerns


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Marion County Police Departments insist the sheriff’s office decision to shut down some services on Jan. 1 will increase public safety concerns across the region.

Today, Lawrence, Speedway, Southport, Beech Grove and Cumberland Police Departments stood with city leaders in their excluded towns to address concerns over the MCSO’s decision to halt transportation of those arrested to the new community justice campus and the detention unit of the Eskenazi hospital.

“What are we going to do? We are going to pray for the best,” Lawrence Police Chief David Hofmann said.

These police departments and communities received the official announcement on December 16 that the Marion County Sheriff’s Office would no longer provide transportation for those arrested to the new prison or the Eskenazi Health detention unit. They will also no longer cover the cost of medical treatment for the arrested person or the staff at the Eskenazi Health detention unit.

“Like right now, we have an officer across the street in Southport,” Chief Thomas Vaughn said. “So if he was to come down and sit in Eskenazi, then we should start making phone calls, trying to find someone to come in.”

Marion County Police Departments have officially discovered that the changes will take effect Jan. 1 on Dec. 16. Lawrence Police Chief David Hofmann said the extra duties would take officers off the streets.

“Those who remain will be shopping and they will come from further afield, most likely,” said Hofmann. “With fewer back-up agents, I think all of our residents can expect longer response times. “

The sheriff’s office said they could not sign up for an interview today as they move into the new community justice campus. Instead, they sent this statement:

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has long reported on critical staffing challenges and the fact that no other state sheriff’s office is grappling with the costs of health care and passenger transportation orders – costs that the sheriff does not have the capacity to control. The transition from MCSO to the Community Justice Campus (CJC) will double the number of inmates for whom we provide direct supervision. The most recent controller-led budget process simply did not fund enough MCSO staff to handle this significant increase and deliver services to those arrested. According to Col. James Martin, the comptroller’s financial priority was for the MCSO to eliminate arrestee services and focus on staff and security at the adult detention center, CJC and the city-county building.

According to City Comptroller Ken Clark’s Dec. 16 letter to the mayors of Beech Grove, Lawrence, Speedway and Southport, the comptroller said the Hogsett administration asked MCSO to continue these services, but the sheriff decided to move on. the front with the stop.

A city spokesperson said the comptroller’s office offered to fund the city’s county building security through a different funding source in order to free up money from the MCSO. But they declined the offer and decided to stop their transportation services to the county.

According to the police, this leaves the officers in a difficult situation.

“This is an example of a sharp reduction in services and an erosion of public safety at a time when records are being broken,” said Hofmann.

In a previous interview with Forestal, he told our team that he expected fewer arrests to be made after January 1, as the burden of transport falls on other agencies.

“I think it may change some of the people who made it too easy to arrest someone,” Forestal said, “like someone has been in an accident and finds out they may have a warrant. four-year suspension to drive and want to serve him, well, this agency will now be responsible for maintaining safety. “

Dep. Beech Grove Police Department Chief Robert Mercuri said that was not the way to go.

“The sheriff himself said it would lead to fewer arrests,” Mercuri said. “Is this what we want in Marion County?” Since we watch the news every day when we wake up, that’s what we want, right? We want fewer arrests.

Mercuri explained that a subpoena is a promise to appear. If the person does not appear, an arrest warrant is issued against him. Mercuri said officers must follow the judge’s orders.

“Stealth is always part of that job, but when it says you have to quit, that’s what we have to do. This is what we have to do.

Clark said the county will continue to cover the medical costs of those detained because state law requires it, so that burden does not fall on the cities. The Hogsett administration also offered to make US bailout funding available to the IMPD and other law enforcement agencies to pay for officers’ overtime in 2022.

“What worries me the most for myself and the police chiefs I’ve spoken to is that it doesn’t matter how much money you want to spend on overtime,” said Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier . “We don’t have the manpower, we just don’t have the manpower to cover. “

MCSO’s decision to stop these services also has an impact on the IMPD. In a previous interview, IMPD said this change will require significant adjustments from their department.

City officials said they would continue to ask the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to staff the Eskenazi detention unit and transport those arrested to hospital and jail. Officers tell us they are hopeful that a meeting will be called soon and that the decision will be overturned.

“We can at best provide what would literally be an interim measure, but it couldn’t last long,” Collier said.

The City of Indianapolis City Council is also weighing in on the decision regarding the transportation of those arrested and the staff of the detention unit:

“Several councilors, especially those whose districts are home to excluded towns, have followed the long-planned policy changes planned by the Marion County Sheriff regarding the transportation and supervision of those arrested since they were made in the past. ‘a hearing on the public budget several months ago. These advisers have been in contact with the sheriff’s office and the city comptroller and have been made aware of the comptroller’s good faith efforts to cover the expenses that police departments in the excluded cities will incur in transporting those arrested. The Council will continue to closely monitor progress on this issue with a view to resolving these policy changes. “- Angela Plank, City Council spokesperson


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