At their Sept. 8 special meeting, the Bloomington Council passed a resolution urging the administration to increase the annual salary for Bloomington police officers by $5,000. The resolution passed 7-1-1, with Matt Flaherty voting against it and Kate Rosenbarger abstaining.
The resolution is non-binding, which means it doesn't force the administration to act. The administration opposed the resolution, saying it would interfere with the city's collective bargaining efforts with the police union. The current contract runs through 2022, but could be re-opened if both parties agree.
BPD has struggled to recruit and retain officers. The department is authorized to hire 105 officers, but currently has only 93 on staff. Of those, only 76 are available for duty, as others are on sick leave, military duty, or are being trained. The city is currently developing its 2022 budget. BPD has requested a $20 million budget, with $16.65 million for personnel.
Watch the council deliberations on CATS here. Read the resolution here.
Responding to an increase in complaints about vandalism, aggressive behavior and other public safety issues, the City of Bloomington has released a statement about actions to improve safety in public spaces. Among the actions are:
Several business owners spoke about issues related to Wheeler Mission at the Aug. 9 Bloomington Plan Commission meeting. The shelter is seeking approval for expansion of its facility on South Westplex Avenue, off of West 3rd St.
Business owners cited property damage, aggression, drug use, theft, trash (including needles) and urine/feces left on the grounds. They discussed the expense of installing security and paying for cleanup, and frustrations that the problems have exacerbated in the past few months. Similar concerns have been reported by businesses along the B-Line, South Walnut and Kirkwood areas.
Watch the discussion on CATS here. Read the Wheeler Mission proposal here.
On July 27, the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners approved a contract extension with Marshall Security, a private firm, to provide extended security coverage in downtown area parks. The unarmed guards would be staffed in shifts from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Last month the board approved an initial contract with Marshall for one shift at Switchyard Park, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Tim Streets, operations and development division director, told the board that there had been numerous security incidents during daytime hours throughout other parks and on the B-Line Trail, including physical altercations, unconscious persons, assault, and destruction of public property. In addition to Switchyard Park, the security guards will now patrol these parks: RCA Park, Seminary Park, B-Line Trail, Building Trades Park, Butler Park, Crestmont Park, Miller Showers Park and Third Street Park.
This new contract of $52,500 runs through Dec. 31 and adds to the previous contract of $60,588. The funding will come from the city's share of CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act funds. This is the first time that the parks department has hired private security for regular patrols
Watch the discussion on CATS here. Read the staff memo here.
Monroe County is forming a small task force to start discussing and reviewing recommendations in the recent Criminal Justice & Incarceration Study.
At the June 30, 2021 meeting of the Monroe County Commissioners, county attorney Margie Rice asked for feedback on creating a task force of elected officials. The group would include members of the Monroe County Commissioners, Monroe County Council, the Health Department, prosecutor, public defender and Board of Judges.
Another public meeting is set for July 7 at 5:30 p.m. via this Zoom link.
Click here to listen to the criminal justice study discussion on CATS. Read the Criminal Justice & Incarceration Study here.
The long-awaited Monroe County Criminal Justice & Incarceration Study has been released to the public. Among the findings:
Read the full report here. A June 23 joint meeting of the Monroe County Commissioners and County Council will review the recommendations. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. via this Zoom link.
The following press release was issued by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to oppose the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 regarding homeless encampments:
Based on overwhelming feedback from members, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 that would allow encampments in public parks for extended periods.
“Over the past year we’ve heard increasing complaints and deep concerns voiced by members of the business community regarding encampments at Seminary Park and elsewhere,” said Erin Predmore, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “We must find an alternative way to support the needs of houseless residents that does not negatively impact local businesses, the jobs they provide, and the broader community.”
The Bloomington City Council is considering an ordinance that would allow homeless residents to camp in public parks, under certain conditions. You can read the ordinance here.
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The Council's Committee of the Whole will discuss it on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. There will be opportunity for public commentary. Depending on their action, it could be considered for a final vote on March 3. If you prefer to contact councilmembers directly, find their contact information here.
Click here to take the survey. Thank you for helping us shape our advocacy efforts on this issue.
Updates on police, fire and initiatives of the Community and Family Resources Department (CFRD) were part of Bloomington's 5th annual State of Public Safety report, featured in a Feb. 9 presentation.
In addition to Mayor John Hamilton, presenters included Police Chief Mike Diekhoff, Fire Chief Jason Moore, and CFRD Director Beverly Caldener-Anderson.
View the 90-minute presentation here. Slides from the report are here.
The Bloomington City Clerk is seeking applications for the new Community Advisory on Public Safety (CAPS) Commission. The commission, created by the Bloomington City Council earlier this year, aims to "to increase the safety of all Bloomington community members, especially those often marginalized due to race, disability, gender, sexual identity, or sexual orientation."
Click here for the City Clerk's press release about applying to CAPS. To apply for this or any city advisory commission, click here.