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Sheriff of Marion County: Deputy safety would rise with more funding



Indianapolis, Indiana – After Deputy John Durm was assassinated in July by a jail inmate, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office is battling for greater funding.

Kerry Forestal, the sheriff of Marion County, claims that safer cops result from more funding.

“I do (think more funding would increase deputy safety),” he said. “I think the challenge (is continuing) to train people and have them move to other agencies that pay higher – (that) puts all of our people at risk. If we can retain (officers), that’s going to be good for us and good for the community.”

When the collective bargaining agreement permits it, Forestal wants to press for rises the following year. The budget for this year requested an increase for the sheriff’s office of almost $14 million.

Stephen Lane, who spoke as a representative of the “Answer Now to Stop War Coalition,” was one of the opponents who opposed it during the meeting when the budget was discussed.

“The conditions at the justice center sound deplorable,” Lane said. “More of this funding needs to go to fund mental health resources (in the city).”

Frank Mascari, a member of the City-County Council, expresses worry over the volume of inmates serving state prison sentences who are being housed in the Marion County jail. He claims that there are 300 inmates in the jail rather than state facilities and that it is only paid $37.50 a day.

“We’re getting short-falled. It’s as simple as that,” Mascari said. “It’s state laws. They don’t like the Marion County Sheriff’s Department in the state house. They will do anything and everything they can against them.”

Due to a personnel shortage, this year’s budget increase will be mostly used to pay overtime expenses.

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