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When a Shelbyville police officer patrols downtown he or she could be five miles from where the action literally is at the Indiana Live casino out on I-74.

“Basically we could’ve handled the casino if it would have been adjacent to the normal city limits, but when you look at the location of where the casino is compared to the city and downtown, that is a major issue,” explains Shelbyville Police Chief Bill Elliott.

Shelbyville is split in two: the city proper where most of the cops patrol and the casino outpost where officers are called about five hundred times a year — about five percent of all their runs.

“Anything from drunk drivers, public intoxication, vehicle thefts, domestic disputes, it just varies,” says Elliott.

And you can’t send just one officer by him or herself. If you send one you have to send a back up.

So the chief hired two new officers last year. Five more will enter the police academy this summer and three more will get badges in 2011 to help out with the added patrol duties at the casino.

And the expected economic development around Indiana Live? That hasn’t taken off yet.

“We’re hoping that we can get ahead of the game and have the officers ready to go out of the academy, on the street and ready to go when the economy recovers,” says Elliott.

Indiana Live also has its own security guards on duty and the Indiana Gaming Commission always has at least one law enforcement officer on the site. The chief is paying for the extra cops by postponing the purchase of new police cars.

Meanwhile, a credit rating service warns Indiana Live may face bankruptcy restructuring because of its debt load.

The rating from Moody’s Investors Service follows a filing last month by the parent company of Anderson’s Hoosier Park. Both companies borrowed quite a bit of money to pay $250 million state license fees and build their casinos.

Moody’s says Indiana Live doesn’t have enough revenue to meet its interest expenses.

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