After services at a northside church to honor Indianpolis police and firefighters, Interim IMPD Chief Rick Hite told Fox 59 News he’d sooner see his own salary cut before asking his officers to do their job for less.
“We’re not talking about budget cuts in terms of salaries for police officers,” said Hite about Mayor Ballard’s decision to reopen talks with IMPD officers to rollback their proposed 3% raise in the wake of a $65 million city budget deficit.
“I’m going to take a cut in pay as chief to be an example,” said Hite, “but what I’m saying to our people, we want to make sure they’re being made whole. They have to feed their families. We have to take care of our communities first and we have to give them what they deserve.”
Ballard, who won election in 2007 with the slogan, “Public Safety is Job 1,” has said police and fire spending can no longer be treated as a, “sacred cow,” and off-limits to cuts.
In his proposed budget, the mayor has not included any money for an IMPD recruit class though he has left open the possibility of accepting lateral transfers from other departments of veteran officers who have already received training.
While the public safety budget will soon be examined by city county councilors, the department of public safety is still without a director four months after the previous director, Dr. Frank Straub, announced his intentions to step down.
Certain members of the search committee appointed by Ballard has already interviewed at least three internal candidates, Sgt. Bruce Henry, Fire Chief Brian Sanford and Homeland Security Director Gary Coons, for the post, as well as outside candidates.
Minority members of that committee are expected to interview finalists next week.
The next public safety director will inherit a police department woefully short of funds to buy stun gun batteries, ammunition, bullet proof vests, gun range targets, rest room supplies and office supplies.
Hite’s comments came after Sunday morning services at The Christ Church Apostolic where IMPD motorcycles graced the sanctuary and three more were parked in the lobby.
Outside at least ten traffic patrol officers waited for the conclusion of the service which was attended by the command staff of both the police and fire departments.
IMPD interim chief vows to not reduce police pay in budget battle