University of Louisville professor Dr. Joe Grant (Source: WAVE 3 News)
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - In June the Jeffersonville City Council reluctantly agreed to a compromise hire of three new police officers after the mayor and police chief made a case for safety. But Monday night, a former Jeffersonville police officer and current professor said it may not be necessary.
City Council President Dennis Julius told his colleagues Monday, "I think that the whole council takes public safety at the utmost importance."
With that said, Julius is wondering if the council acted too fast when it voted a few weeks ago to a hire three new police officers.
The move came after Police Chief Chris Grimm made an impassioned plea agreeing with Mayor Mike Moore to hire five new officers every year for the next five years
Julius asked former Jeffersonville police officer and University of Louisville professor Dr. Joe Grant to step forward.
"The council was questioning 'do we need that many officers?'" Grant said.
He told council members he doesn't know the exact number, but contends they could make a more objective decision if they took a workload based approach recommended by the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville.
Grant explained, "It looks at what the officers are doing and breaks their times down." He admitted that can get complicated, which is a disadvantage, but overall he said it balances responsibility of managing crime and public money.
The Mayor had suggested two officers per 1,000 people. Dr. Grant believes per capita isn't always on the money. "That has no bearing on the workload that the officers have," Grant said, "it's just based upon some arbitrary number."
Chief Grimm based the need in part to keeping up with thousands of new visitors coming to Jeffersonville due to the opening of the Big Four Bridge although no major crimes have been reported since the opening.
Another issue? Julius reminded the council, the police union has come forward asking for a three percent raise.
"We as public servants have the responsibility to be accountable for the monies that we spend and that includes paying for more police officers and more firefighters," Grant said.
Grant said if they have more officers they may increase the perception"that there's less crime, but it isn't always the case. He recommended educating the public on the matter and because he once worked for the department he said they should bring in an outside agency that would work with the council to come to a decision.