A new chief for IMPD?

Dateline: Tue 04 Mar 2008

Legitimate questions are being raised about the possibility of hiring a new police chief for Indianapolis to the jingle of an extra $50,000 in salary, give or take a few thousand. The concern is two-pronged: the city is not flush, and Mayor Greg Ballard has pledged to hold the lid on costs.

A seasoned source suggests that, given this bleak scenario, former Indianapolis Police Department chief Jerry Barker would be a good fit.

Barker understands community policing, says the source. He also has a rep for treating people fairly. And he has backers and respect within the black community.

Then there's this little story.

"Barker did not sell out to (former Mayor Bart) Peterson," says my guy. The source explains: Peterson wanted Barker, when he was chief, to draw up a hit list of 50-75 cops who would be targeted for layoffs. This was during the time when the Peterson peeps were having issues with the Fraternal Order of Police over a contract. Peterson was threatening to cut public safety; he wanted to use the list to squeeze the FOP. Barker, who served five years, reportedly refused to cooperate.

Other assets: He's a Republican. He's an Army veteran of Vietnam, where he was a "tunnel rat," flushing out the Viet Cong. And, during his time in office, "there were no major brawls."

But he was opposed to the merger of the city police department and the Marion County sheriff's department. He was kicked downstairs and Michael Spears is now chief.

Another source/insider suggests that Barker is not a serious contender, but the following are:

Former Northside Deputy Chief Bill Reardon, who is now in charge of the airport police.

Forner Westside Deputy Chief Tim Horty, who went to work for U.S. Attorney Susan Brooks.

Captain Brian Nanavaty, financial officer. NOTE: THIS POST EARLIER LISTED CAPTAIN DAVID NANAVATY, WHO IS BRIAN'S BROTHER.

And Downtown District Major Darryl Pierce.

Also, the word on the street is that Spears is dong a good job, and Public Safety boss Scott Newman is pleased.

So with all this local talent, do we really need to go outside for a new chief of police? And can we afford to?

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