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DeLaney Calls for 200 New IMPD Officers, Says He'd Seek State Help With Cost

Dem mayoral hopeful predicts GOP would back grants if all cities are eligible

Democratic challenger Ed DeLaney says Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's proposal to boost police manpower doesn't go far enough.

Ballard has asked the City-County Council to approve money for 81 additional officers over four years. DeLaney says he agrees with the mayor's plan to increase the public-safety income tax already on the books to pay for it. But he says he'd add 120 officers beyond that by seeking federal grants, and asking the state to fill the hole left by property tax caps.

DeLaney, a state representative, says he believes legislative Republicans would support state grants to cities and counties, as long as the measure wasn't limited to Indianapolis. He acknowledges there might be tougher opposition from Republican Governor Mike Pence, but argues the state is going too far in hoarding its surplus.

And DeLaney says the city could both generate new revenue and reduce costs by reconfiguring its police academy to accept trainees from surrounding communities.

The Ballard administration argues federal COPS grants would leave the city on the hook for new costs when the grants expire. DeLaney argues that's no different from many other grants, and says the city should take the money and start planning for what comes next.

DeLaney and the Republican mayor are also at odds over what IMPD's manpower is. DeLaney says it's dropped 12% since Ballard took office. Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter calls that figure “complete fiction." He says DeLaney is counting 100 officers authorized but never hired under Ballard's Democratic predecessor Bart Peterson.

The difference means that while DeLaney contends Ballard's proposal would still leave IMPD short of 2007 levels, Ballard says the department briefly edged past that record in 2011, and would reach a new high in 2016 if the mayor's plan is approved.

DeLaney and Washington Township Trustee Frank Short are seeking the Democratic mayoral nomination, with former U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett is expected to join the race. Ballard says he'll decide by the end of the year whether he'll run for a third term.

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