Indianapolis/Marion County residents began paying with their first paychecks of 2015 additional county income tax as part of an increase in the Public Safety Tax. It was increased after community outcry for more police in the wake of 2014’s sharp increase in homicides and other serious crimes. The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) was one of the groups pushing for the tax and the hiring of hundreds of more police over the next five years. FOP President Rick Snyder came to Afternoons with Amos to talk about the concerns of the men and women of law enforcement. The FOP, Lodge 86, represents Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers, Marion County Sheriff’s deputies and police in smaller communities in the county and surrounding communities. In an open and frank conversation with Amos and listeners, Snyder talked openly about improved training in IMPD. He said IMPD training now emphasizes that police officers are “servants” as opposed to the old attitude of officers joining out of a sense of “adventure”. For years the FOP had been resistant to efforts to increase the racial and ethnic diversity of IMPD recruits. Snyder said he’s pleased with the percentage diversity of IMPD’s recent recruit classes (over 33% minority and women) and also said the diversity of applicants is improving. A strong supporter of community policing, Snyder said the FOP is helping provide reaching out to the community by now administering the McGruff program which visits local schools. Snyder also talked about an FOP initiative called “EPIC” which stands for Education, Prevention, Intervention and Collaboration. Its an initiative that would help put police officers in greater positive contacts with the community to establish good relationships and help reduce crime. Snyder explained that of the new Public Safety tax increase adds some $16 million for IMPD. Snyder wants to make sure that those dollars don’t get diverted to non-public safety uses. Snyder stressed that Indianapolis can’t just hire new police to replace those who leave or retire. Adding police must mean a real substantive increase. Snyder also said that the additional dollars from the new tax will also go to replace scores of IMPD vehicles which haven’t been replaced since before the 2007 police/sheriff merger. Snyder also stressed improved training, not just for new officers, but indicated that training also applies to the entire force. Click the Media Player to Hear the Afternoons with Amos Interview With FOP President Rick Snyder. Runs 59 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One.