INDIANAPOLIS–With a focus on racial equity and healing, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a budget Monday night, that includes no cost of living raises for city employees. The budget and new city policies will be used to better train police officers in de-escalation techniques and will fund the promotion of diversity.
“Either choose the path of bold unity and mutual understanding, or we must turn away from that which has allowed our city to overcome every obstacle in its path for two centuries,” said Hogsett, after outlining his budget proposal, which focuses on public safety, without an effort to defund the police department.
LISTEN: Mayor Joe Hogsett and the State of the City address
Hogsett spoke of improvements made to the department’s technology and training, as well as civilian oversight.
“It is clear that civilian involvement in that process is long overdue,” he said, speaking of a new civilian review board on use of force by police.
Hogsett said that in addition to body cams, new prohibitions on choke holds and no knock warrants, and other recent changes in policy, the city will pay for more officer training.
“In 2021 the spirit of reform will continue as we work to bolster officer training with a new facility that will allow officers to conduct use of force and de-escalation training in environments that better mimic what our police experience day-to-day.”
While Hogsett acknowledged that the city will likely be hurt by the coronavirus pandemic for years to come, he said near the beginning of the speech that cost of living raises were not part of his budget proposal, and that some departments would not get more money than in last year’s budget.
But, he announced the city would be focusing on racial equity and would be joining GARE, or the Government Alliance on Race and Equity.
“GARE will be working to empower city-county agencies and help them address racial inequities through policies, planning and delivery of services.”
It’s not enough to acknowledge systemic racism. You don’t get a participation ribbon in the fight against injustice. What we need in Indianapolis is a process of healing that is not implemented, but lived. Lived especially by white residents in positions of power, like myself.”
Hogsett announced a $16 million program for coronavirus relief that includes over $7 million for rental assistance for people whose incomes have been affected by the pandemic and who can’t pay rent, and $3 million for additional masks and face coverings.
Hogsett said he and the council will spend the next two months picking apart his proposal before finalizing the budget.