Lawrence police union exploring merger with IMPD


The Lawrence Police Union told Fox59 Friday that it's exploring the idea of a merger between the Lawrence Police Department and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Budget concerns in Lawrence forced the city to cut 20 EMT positions. City leaders said it would help to close a $2 million budget shortfall.

According to Lawrence Fraternal Order of Police President Tom Ashcraft, budget woes across Central Indiana have made some of the younger police officers nervous.

"They're extremely concerned about their job and their future, considering they just laid off 20 (EMT's), considering what's happening in Anderson... and what's happening throughout the country," said Ashcraft. "These young officers are wanting to know if they're going to have a future."

Those doubts, Ashcraft said, are dangerous. He explained many Lawrence police officers know they can leave the department to make a lateral move to IMPD, possibly even makee a better salary.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard's budget "included plans to maintain IMPD force strength through lateral hires," said a spokesman for the Mayor.

"If they choose to go, the light at the end of the tunnel looks better for them on the other side of the fence with IMPD," said Ashcraft.

Hiring and training new officers to replace those that leave would prove too costly for the City, he added.

"I'm worried that we're going to lose the officers and put Lawrence in a terrible financial condition."

The FOP called Indianapolis City-County Councilman Mike McQuillen Friday afternoon to arrange a meeting to go over a possible merger.

McQuillen represents District 12 which includes parts of Lawrence and said he is open to the idea.

"I said sure I'll be glad to meet with you anytime anyplace," said McQuillen. "If it makes sense fiscally and if it makes sense from a service standpoint that the people are protected, then we'll look at any possibility."

Fox59 informed Lawrence Mayor Dean Jessup's office of the merger talks Friday. His staff was surprised and insisted Mayor Jessup would not support a merger. Fox59 was told Mayor Jessup would not comment until he'd spoken with the FOP.


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