Thumbs down: Squeezing the fuzz
Amid the drama of city-county budget season: Off-duty police officers are under scrutiny for organizing Safe Neighborhoods, a private security company. To be sure, the cars and gasoline they enjoy on the city's dime represent added public cost while the benefit goes to select residents and officers. It seems that some sort of rental fee, as instituted in other cities negotiating this issue, could offset the city's costs while enabling the benefits of free enterprise. Maintaining additional oversight of outsourced officers to ensure performance, transparency and ethics issues receive appropriate scrutiny also seems appropriate.But to grouse about their badges and uniforms? That seems a little mean spirited — especially when planned IMPD raises are on the chopping block. If officers want to work more, let them do it off the overtime clock where they can still cooperate with their on-duty colleagues. Such public-private partnerships will help keep the streets safer until city leaders and residents step up and make the collective commitment to hire more officers — not just squeeze more performance out of the existing crop.