Thursday, September 4, 2008

Public Safety Mayor Diverts Funds, and I Know Why!

The Indianapolis Star reports today that money for 100 new IMPD officers has been diverted by Mayor Ballard to pay for "needs not covered in the 2008 budget: retirement benefits, contractual raises, overtime, and fuel.

Retirement benefits are unavoidable, but a Mayor not beholden to the FOP would grandfather in existing officers (if this hasn't already been done) and ditch pensions for all new classes just like private sector employers have done in favor of individual savings retirement accounts. Contractual raises are the same. You have to pay them through the contract term, but mayors not beholden to the FOP need not keep offering them every election cycle as a quid pro quo for an endorsement.

But overtime and fuel are things you CAN control, and I learned something fascinating the other day talking with four IMPD officers. Last year, IMPD officers would attend "roll call" every other month. Now these officers attend EVERY DAY. These officers disclosed that these roll calls are at least 30 minutes in length, and they have to drive THROUGH their particular beats to get to the roll call, meaning there are additional fuel costs. None of these officers could explain why they have roll call every day, though two offered that they believe the higher ups think closer eyes make it less likely that they'll get in trouble. Great! Now we're paying overtime and fuel so IMPD can be babysat? One laughed that higher ups think an officer might confess to a rape or disclose that he's tipping off drug dealers if they have to go to roll call every day.

Having grown up with Hill Street Blues and having watch "muster" on The Wire, I asked whether they received some real good "intelligence" at these meetings. All the officers said no. They said they are more likely to get a report about lady whose cat keeps running away than they are to get substantive information that assists "crime fighting." All the officers stated that there is no information they receive that they can't get by e-mail.

These officers stated that this daily roll call requirement is uniformly viewed as pointless and has caused a huge decrease in morale. As I sat there, two of the officers talked about going to other police departments.

My thought is this. Maybe we could hire a few more officers if we didn't have so much time wasted with mandatory roll calls and so much gas wasted getting there. Also, if we relieved our officers of pointless administrative burdens, maybe we wouldn't need to keep raising the salaries to keep them. If the Mayor is worried about his officers' honesty, increase the polygraphs and let the rest of the force get back on the street.



Anonymous said...

Ballard doesn't 'GET IT'. This is not the military, we did this in the military, of course we could not squit or get another job and the budget was not a concern.

Now, if there is a training purpose, ie ensuring they are dressed and outfitted properly and physically fit, not overweight, then I the 'temporary' purpose. Otherwise, its micromanaging military style.
Ballard simply does not GET IT.

Anonymous said...

The police and the FOP wanted him and now they have him.

Anonymous said...

Rob Long passed three polygraphs. One of Anderson's favorites by the way. Prosecutors and fellow narcotics officers figured out long before that he was dirty, and despite their best efforts, couldn't get him out of that position.

Jason Barber-fired by IPD, rehired by MCSD and Frank Anderson.

Are your sources disgruntled because the favors they previously enjoyed are no longer available to them? Are they perhaps bitter because showing up for roll call at least ensures some monitoring by their superiors? The ghost employment investigations have only just began.

Roll call doesn't cause overtime-they are still working the same shift. Having to show up multiple times before the court system actually tries thier case causes a lot more overtime than that.

By the way, citizens are allowed, even encouraged, to attend roll call. Please attend a few yourself, and then report back as to whether they spend their time really talking about runaway cats. I think you will be suprised. Messages regarding crime hot spots, wanted subjects, suspicious vehicles, messages from prosecutors-all of this is discussed in roll call. And I have never been to one that lasted 30 minutes, unless a major warrant was going to be served in the district.

Will you say anything when the next round of indictments come out and several people who were also Anderson's favorites go down again?

Concerned Taxpayer said...

This article was obviously written by a typical liberal who knows absolutely NOTHING about the military or law enforcement.

He lives in his rose-colored world where all you have to do is "wish" something and it comes true (or the government pays for it for you.)

Chris Worden said...

Anon 8:02:

I'd never met these gentleman before, but they were all had more years in than Frank Anderson, so they pre-dated him. It's funny how you just assumed these were Frank Anderson's guys. The other thing I notice that happens a lot is every black officer is stated as being one of Frank Anderson's. These four gentlemen were all white guys. In other words, I'm not sure how they were getting favors from somebody who hasn't been around as long as they have.

Also, Concerned Taxpayer, if by "article" you mean my post, that's about the least learned critique of any post I've had, except for "you suck." I don't consider myself a liberal, but as I has not served in law enforcement or the military, please tell me how paying to have everybody drive to a roll call every day where they don't get information that is useful to them can help reduce crime. Also, as the former head of a neighborhood association crime committee, I HAVE been to roll calls, and I did not find the information particularly compelling (and certainly capable of being disseminated by e-mail much more quickly).