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.
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.
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.
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.