The drive Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department cars; they wear the uniforms, and carry the guns, but these officers aren’t being paid by the city. Neighborhoods are hiring off-duty cops to come through their communities and keep them safe, at annual rates and to the dismay of some critics.
According to the Indy Star, Safe Neighborhoods uses off duty IMPD officers with their take-home patrol cars and all of their IMPD accessories to keep communities safer when the Department can’t. Community members see it as a way to compensate for the things the IMPD can’t handle like increased patrols and personalized attention. Others see it as a potential money maker for the city—one they are currently missing out on.
Residents pay up to $200 per year for the services. When more people in a community pay, they get more hours from the Safe Neighborhoods officers. Those who pay may get personalized emails and notifications from the officers in their area, as well as signs on their home announcing their protection. Those who don’t pay, still benefit—from the increased patrols in their neighborhood.
Safe Neighborhoods officers can make arrests and issue tickets. Unlike in other cities where off-duty cops are rented by business and neighborhoods, these IMPD officers retain all of the powers they have while on duty.
So, what’s the problem? Some think the Safe Neighborhoods business should be paying the city for use of municipal equipment. After all, the patrol cars and uniforms will wear out quicker when they are being used in a side-job. And with the Department being strapped for cash, any revenues are good revenues.
“We are not trying to replace IMPD, which is doing a great job with the resources it has,” says co-owner of Safe Neighborhoods and IMPD Sgt. Dan Green. “We are giving the residents the individualized attention they want, most of which is property protection.”
“They shouldn’t be using our equipment when they have their own business,” countered Councilman Joe Simpson. “You should get your own uniforms, your own cars and your own badges. This is a demonstration of how wild it’s gotten out there.”
What no one seems to be discussing, however, is how this impacts other neighborhoods. If the police departments are forced to cut back on officers and patrol time, leaving the city at risk, and some communities pool their money for a private business to patrol, what about those communities who can’t afford the private detail? These neighborhoods—already the hardest hit by crime and poor police relations—will only suffer harder. The communities that remain safe will be the ones where residents can afford to keep them that way.
If you’ve been arrested for a criminal offense, whether by an IMPD officer or an officer from a smaller department, we may be able to help. From reckless driving to drug possession, our attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of the accused. Contact our attorneys today.