Oct. 19--Fox 59 News received a copy of an e-mail sent from the office of Indianapolis Police Chief Paul Ciesielski to the Police Merit Board, advising that a promised police recruit class for November has been once again delayed.
"The Merit Board meeting for November 1 has been canceled," read the letter. "Its exclusive focus was on the next recruit class."
Sgt. Mark Brown, personnel applicant process supervisor, stated that the recruit class has been continued to February of next year.
When informed by Fox 59 News of the delay in swearing in the recruit class, Mayor Greg Ballard said he was unaware.
"If it's very late, I don't know," said the mayor. "My understanding is the application process is going through."
Public Safety Director Frank Straub said there has been miscommunication between the IMPD Academy and the Merit Board staff. He said, in a statement Wednesday afternoon, the City will continue to hire an IMPD recruit class this year and the Merit Board will hold a meeting to approve the candidates in November.
Nearly two dozen recruits have been told, some for the fourth time, that their acceptance at the IMPD Academy has been delayed. They have been advised to not report for physical agility training this weekend and that they should contact their background investigations detective for updates.
On October 11, Pubic Safety Director Frank Straub told the Merit Board to expect a recruit class in November after the mayoral election.
"If you think about it, we're going to hire a class of 20," said Straub as he argued in favor of promoting more minority officers to the upper ranks of IMPD. "If only half of that class is persons of color, that's 10. And if we wait another year to hire a class of 20 and the persons of color are 10, that's 20. My guess is none of us will be alive when we have a diverse department."
"It's definitely an officer safety issue," said Sgt. Bill Owensby of the Fraternal Order of Police. "Unfortunately now it's not something we can fix for another six months, and now it sounds like it's going to be even farther out than that."
Owensby said he has received conflicting information whether or not the next recruit class has been postponed.
Mayor Ballard has made the swearing in of a 2011 recruit class a prime example of his fight against crime during his re-election campaign. The mayor insists this delay is not a setback to those plans.
"One, we'll have to see," said the mayor. "Things happen and I'm not sure it's happening in this case. You're telling me this but I'm not sure what a couple of months would do anyway but at the same time, you'll see."
Director Straub released the following statement Wednesday:
Apparently, there has been some miscommunication between the IMPD Academy and the Merit Board staff. The City is moving forward with plans to hire an IMPD recruit class of 20 this year. The Merit Board meeting to approve the candidates will be scheduled in November. The budget including funding for the recruit class was approved by the Council. We apologize for any confusion and look forward to this new recruit class joining the proud ranks of IMPD.
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