More Gary Police Officers Sworn In
September 18, 2014 — Gary city officials swore in 15 full-time police recruits and six reserve officers yesterday, what Police Chief Larry McKinley called an answer to a manpower shortage that has affected the police department.
The swearing-in ceremony came one day after police officers and firefighters picketed City Hall, demanding higher salaries. Chief McKinley says more officers available to be on the streets will able to do more proactive work, and that can help reduce crime dramatically. The department’s also been trying to recover from the on-duty shooting death of patrolman Jeffery Westerfield. The man accused of shooting him, 26 year old Carl Blount of Gary, now faces the death penalty if convicted.
Gary Police officers have complained about being understaffed for years. Finding the money to pay for new officers and to give raises to existing officers has been a struggle. McKinley says he and Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson will meet with the Fraternal Order of Police to discuss the pay issue.