Public Safety Director Frank Straub to resign in August

Local GovernmentCrime, Law and JusticePoliticsSafety of CitizensEmmis Communications CorporationWilliam Bratton

Mayor Greg Ballard accepted Public Safety Director Frank Straub’s resignation Friday.

Straub will resign from his position effective Aug. 1.  In a letter to the mayor, Straub wrote it has been an honor and privilege to serve as the public safety director.

“During the next couple of months, I look forward to working with you, the Council, and our public safety staff, to continue the work we have begun, to select new public safety leadership, and ensure the success of this critical endeavor,” wrote Straub. “I am also looking forward to new professional opportunities and challenges.  I will always be proud of the opportunity I have had to work with so many talented, dedicated, and committed professionals in the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety and to serve the residents of this great City.” 

Controversy has surrounded Straub in the past few months.  Last week, Straub presided over the resignation of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Police Chief Paul Ciesielski over the alleged mishandling of evidence in the David Bisard case. 

At that time, Straub announced IMPD was mired in up to 50 years of police corruption. However, earlier this week, Mayor Ballard told Fox59 he thought the corruption allegations were “overplayed.” 

Straub also endorsed the naming of the interim police chief, Rick Hite.  However, Hite is not certified to be an Indiana police officer and is still awaiting personnel records from the Baltimore Police Department.  Hite told Fox59 that any corruption within the department was not “human frailty.” 

The news of the resignation comes a month after the public safety department announced its $15 million deficit. 

Straub has been criticized for hiring Altegrity Solutions, operated by his professional sponsor William Bratton, to investigate IMPD internal affairs.  He also hired Emmis Communications in 2011 for $50,000 to create a marketing plan for IMPD.

In addition to the budget woes, recent statistics show violent crimes is up by 15 percent in Indianapolis and property crime is up 13 percent. 

However, in his letter to Mayor Ballard, Straub wrote homicides are at the lowest level in 15 years. 

“We are building a policing strategy based on data and crime prevention versus random patrols and responses to 911 calls,” wrote Straub. “We are placing our resources where the crime is and using data from multiple sources to inform our patrol and investigative practices.”

In late March, Mayor Greg Ballard re-nominated Straub for the position, stating the deficit did not affect his decision.

Last week, during an appearance before the City-County Council Committee, Straub said contrary to public opinion, he did not micromanage or control the IMPD.  

On Tuesday, the Fraternal Order of Police offered a plan to remake the police department.  The first thing on the list was to “transition current DPS leaders,” which called for the replacement of the embattled public safety director.

The FOP released the following statement in regards to Straub’s resignation:

“Obviously, our membership is supportive of the Mayor’s announcement regarding the transition within the Department of Public Safety. However, many questions still exist especially as they relate to Directors Straub’s replacement.

“In the interim, we remain focused on our current and future budgetary challenges which threaten our community policing efforts. We stand by our FOP Ten Step Stabilization Plan which included this transition and we now look forward to working with our community and our elected officials to take the remaining nine steps.

“We remain committed to assist in this process if allowed to do so. We look forward to working WITH the Mayor, the City County Council and the police department’s leadership to make a great department even better through meaningful improvements. Our membership continues to strive for excellence in their chosen profession and simply seek the tools, equipment and proper leadership to achieve our community’s goals.”

Mayor Ballard released the following statement after Straub’s resignation:

“Frank Straub came to Indianapolis facing the difficult task of updating and modernizing the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department at the same time preparing for and successfully hosting the highest profile event in this city’s history.  It hasn’t always been easy but meaningful reform seldom is. 

During Frank’s tenure criminal homicides are at their lowest levels in 15 years, the city’s integrated public safety model is receiving national and international recognition, IMPD and IFD training is being modernized and steps are being actively taken to improve the diversity of hiring and promotions in our public safety departments.

Frank Straub’s work set the stage for the Department of Public Safety and all of its divisions to proudly serve this city in a positive fashion for years to come.”

Click here to read Straub’s resignation letter in its entirety.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Local GovernmentCrime, Law and JusticePoliticsSafety of CitizensEmmis Communications CorporationWilliam Bratton
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