Bloomington mayor: Proposed 2021 budget will reduce sworn police from 105 to 100

During a panel discussion with other city officials, live streamed Thursday afternoon on Facebook, Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton put numbers to an idea he mentioned in a speech two weeks ago.

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The 2021 budget proposal, which the mayor will eventually present to the city council in mid-to-late August, would reduce the number of sworn officer positions with the Bloomington police department (BPD) from 105 to 100.

The budget is scheduled for adoption in October.

The idea is to re-allocate the money for five sworn officers to at least five new non-sworn positions—a mix of social workers and neighborhood resource specialists, Hamilton said.

The move comes in the context of calls nationwide and locally to “defund the police.” Continue reading “Bloomington mayor: Proposed 2021 budget will reduce sworn police from 105 to 100”

Bloomington public safety board briefed on 10 sworn officer vacancies, non-arrest approaches to policing

At a special Tuesday night meeting, Bloomington’s five-member board of public safety was briefed on the monthly activity of the city’s fire and police departments.

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Screenshot of Jun 23, 2020 meeting of Bloomington’s board of public safety.

One highlight was the 10 open jobs for sworn officers reported by Bloomington police department (BPD) captain Ryan Pedigo. The 2020 budget authorizes 105 positions.

Board members got some reaction from BPD chief Mike Diekhoff to calls that have been made across the country and locally to defund police. Continue reading “Bloomington public safety board briefed on 10 sworn officer vacancies, non-arrest approaches to policing”

Initial thoughts on policing from public to Bloomington city council committee: Sell Bearcat armored vehicle; re-open Joseph Smedley case

A meeting held last Thursday by Bloomington city council’s four-member public safety committee got some initial comments from the public on the topic of policing in the city.

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Opening remarks from committee chair Jim Sims included the statement: “We are here to listen to you, the public.” Sims wrapped up his remarks by saying, “A deeper look into the local law enforcement operations is warranted. We just know that tonight we are here, and we need to listen.”

Sims indicated there would likely be additional such meetings.

During public comment at the committee meeting, an appeal to sell the Bloomington police department’s (BPD’s) Bearcat armored vehicle—purchased two years ago for $225,000—came from a dozen different commenters. They want the proceeds to be spent on social services.

That echoed the call from Black Lives Matter (BLM) B-town Core Council to sell the Bearcat and defund the police made during a June 6 Facebook event.

Others called for the re-opening of the Joseph Smedley case from 2015. An event listed on Facebook, held a year after the 20-year-old’s death, described the case: “In the fall of 2015, a young Black student, Joseph Smedley, went missing and was later found dead in Griffy Lake. The overall lack of appropriate response…left many Black students and folks in the neighboring community feeling as if their lives did not matter.” Continue reading “Initial thoughts on policing from public to Bloomington city council committee: Sell Bearcat armored vehicle; re-open Joseph Smedley case”

Bloomington Police: Murder suspect arrested

According to a press release issued by Bloomington’s police department, a suspect has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with a stabbing death in the south part of the city.

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The red circle indicates the general neighborhood where the victim’s body was discovered.

The press release notes that criminal charges are just accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Arrested and charged was John F. Bryant, 59, of Bloomington, according to the press release.

The release describes how an investigation began on Saturday, May 16, into a missing person report. The report came from a 20-year-old man who said he had not heard from his mother since the first week of May.
Continue reading “Bloomington Police: Murder suspect arrested”