The Bloomingtonian

Police union responds to Friday’s press release on police staffing study; meanwhile groups plan rally to “Defund BPD” as city council considers 2021 police budget

After receiving a press release Friday from the City of Bloomington on the findings of a report on staffing of the police department the police union responded later in the evening with a press release of their own. The Fraternal Order of Police’s Paul Post said the report shows the Bloomington Police Department is short by 16 sworn positions.

The City of Bloomington’s city council will meet Tuesday evening to discuss police funding. At the same time, two groups of local activists plan a protest rally outside city hall to “Defund BPD.” (the Bloomington Police Department)

Here is an image of page 24 of the report that indicates the department is short by 16 officers:

The report can be found at this link:

https://bloomington.in.gov/sites/default/files/2020-08/Bloomington%20Police%20Assessment%20Report%20Final%20August%202020.pdf

Here is the full text of the press release from the Fraternal Order of Police (police union):

“”Re: City of Bloomington Organizational Study of Bloomington Police Dept. Staffing Levels

In late 2019, the Bloomington City Council asked for an organizational assessment to be completed; looking at the staffing levels at the Bloomington Police Department, in response to concerns raised by the F.O.P. during the most recent contract negotiations.

As the FOP predicted, in every scenario compared by the study group, the Bloomington Police Department is under-staffed. The Novak Consulting Group found that operating under the current shift structure, the BPD is 16 sworn positions short, based on call volume and local statistics. This third party, independent group, found that in order to be adequately staffed, BPD should have 121 sworn officers.

Recently, Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton announced a plan to reduce sworn police positions at the BPD, from 105 to 100, and to add five civilian positions. The BPD currently has only 95 sworn officers and struggles to fill open positions due to the non-competitive salary and benefits package offered by the City in the most recent contract negotiations. Bloomington is the 7th largest city in Indiana, but ranks 64th in pay for 2020.

The F.O.P. has no opposition to the addition of civilian positions (Social Workers and Neighborhood Resource Specialists), and think that the BPD’s recent addition of those programs is commendable and could become a model for other agencies to consider. However, the F.O.P. is vehemently opposed to any reduction in sworn officer positions.

Today, the City released a statement about this organizational assessment, which glossed over the most important features of the report – namely, that the agency is under-staffed overall. This report directly conflicts the Mayor’s stated plan to ‘defund’ the Department in the upcoming budget hearings. The City pointed to increasing the shift hours BPD officers work, as a possible solution to the existing manpower shortage.

“We see no need to increase the working hours for Bloomington Police Officers at this time when the Mayor’s goal is to reduce the number of officers overall” said F.O.P. Lodge 88 President Paul Post.””

The protest event against police funding, which is organized by a group called, “Defund BPD” and Bloomington Democratic Socialists of America can be found at this link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/659381664670704/

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