National Public Safety Forum at IUPUI to focus on public safety, financial sustainability

  • Oct. 17, 2016


INDIANAPOLIS -- The IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI will host its final National Public Safety Forum of 2016 at the university's Campus Center at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The quarterly forums, held in conjunction with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, were conceived by IMPD Chief Troy Riggs as way to raise awareness of current issues and challenges facing public safety officials. Wednesday's topic, "Financial Sustainability of Public Safety," will focus on increasing budgetary pressures for public safety offices.    

"Local public safety expenditures occupy an increasing share of local government budgets as the cost of police services continues to outpace stagnant revenues," Riggs said. "In Indianapolis, for instance, the city spends more than 80 percent of its annual budget on public safety alone. This puts the fiscal viability of American cities at risk and demands new approaches to financing public safety."

  • WHAT: National Public Safety Forum: Financial Sustainability of Public Safety
  • WHEN: 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19
  • WHERE: IUPUI Campus Center Theater, 420 University Blvd.
  • Panelists include:
    • Ron Holifield, CEO, Strategic Government Resources
    • Ron Olson, former city manager
    • Kathy Davis, systems adviser to the City of Indianapolis
    • David Greene, pastor, Purpose of Life Ministries
    • Lorenzo Boyd, chair and associate professor, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

In addition to Wednesday's forum, SPEA professor Doug Noonan and associate professor Wen Wang, who is now at Rutgers, are conducting research on the fiscal sustainability of local public safety. Using publicly available data, the researchers are spending the current academic year analyzing public finance and public safety data at both the city and county levels across California.

"The idea is to estimate the efficiency with which different local governments are spending their money on public safety, on policing," Noonan said. "So some communities will spend a lot of money and some will spend a little money on a per capita basis, or a per-crime basis, given their particular public safety challenges."

Noonan and Wang will analyze statewide spending on policing, incarceration and the court system, as well as collect other data such as demographics, education levels and population sizes. The researchers plan to eventually rank California's communities in terms of efficiency of spending and make comparisons to cities and towns across Indiana to draw lessons for Hoosiers.

Noonan said he was inspired to seek funding for the research following several conversations with Riggs during the IMPD chief's tenure as director of public safety outreach at the IU Public Policy Institute. This led to a grant to fund the research and the forum, where current and future challenges and possible innovations will be discussed.

"The biggest message I hope comes out of this, from both the forum and the research, is public awareness of the challenges," Noonan said. "We have to better characterize the problems facing public safety officials and communities -- and it goes beyond the challenges of policing. We have to pay for these things, sustainably, and how we do that matters."

Wednesday's forum and the ongoing research are made possible through a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

RSVP for the forum online.

IMPD Chief Troy Riggs

IMPD Chief Troy Riggs

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Richard Schneider
Michael  Jackson