Budget cuts and a smaller staff are not hindering the IPFW police department’s focus on safety, says IPFW Police Chief Steven Kimbrough.
“There’s been a pinch across campus,” he said, “but we still have officers working 24/7.”
The campus police department’s salaries and wages budget has decreased by more than $225,000 since 2012.
Dr. David Wesse, IPFW vice chancellor of financial and administrative affairs, is currently working on the IPFW budget. He provides budget information for 12 different IPFW department heads.
Wesse’s biggest financial change, most recently, has been the Purdue University realignment. With the realignment and budget cuts, Wesse said this year balancing the budget this year has been a challenge.
“You gotta’ go backwards to meet the budget,” Wesse said.
Wesse said the IPFW police department felt the pain of this year’s budget cuts. In order to keep costs low, IPFW Police Department did not hire replacements for their most recent retirees. Instead, Kimbrough’s previous position as lieutenant to chief has yet to be filled.
“You manage your time,” Police Chief Kimbrough said. “You manage your staff to make sure needs are being met.”
He described the extra hours required after budget cuts as “peaks and valleys,” with managers and directors rising up for a time until things settle down.
Kimbrough said he and Wesse have started conversations about additional expenses for safety, including defibrillators in every squad car and electronic door locks.
IPFW currently has over 800 security cameras on campus. Wesse and Kimbrough are interested in obtaining body cameras for IPFW officers, said Kimbrough.
“The world has changed. If people can’t see it, it doesn’t exist-it just doesn’t,” Kimbrough said.
When Kimbrough requests things outside of budget, it’s up to the IPFW budget and planning director, Walter Soptelean, to request the needed funds. Soptelean reviews the budget and records the data so funds can be allocated to the requested expenses.
Soptelean said the budget is not a fixed number when it comes to safety and that both Wesse and Kimbrough review the previous year’s expenditure and request more funds as need be.
Things like squad cars need to be replaced every three to seven years, Kimbrough said.
“Every year it’s a new living document. What can we do to provide safety to the campus,” Soptelean said.
Wesse and the chief are also looking for a new location for the IPFW Police Department, somewhere more accessible, they said.
“People should really know, ‘where’s the police,’” Wesse said.
More information about the IPFW Police Department can be found at: https://www.ipfw.edu/offices/police/