Indiana Fraternal Order of Police recognized Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore for his focus on public safety throughout his tenure as mayor with a Distinguished Service Award.
Last Monday at City Hall, Indiana FOP Vice President Toby Deaton presented Moore with the award and commended the mayor for his efforts to bolster the police department, namely through increasing manpower and instituting what Deaton said was the largest pay raise for law enforcement in the state.
Deaton said as he was visiting different FOP lodges, Moore had expressed interest in meeting and discussing issues, which was something Deaton said was a “rare occurrence.”
“The most important thing that the mayor said was that he wanted the FOP to be a part of the community, that he wanted the FOP to be part of the community policing, that he was actually defending the police instead of defunding the police,” Deaton said. “He understands that a safe city is economic development, and that requires a professional police department. That was something that is so rare in today’s times, so that really stood out to me.”
The award came during Moore’s second year as mayor. During his first year, he made efforts to bolster the number of police officers through incentives aimed at attracting new hires. Last year during the 2021 budget session, the city approved a 20-percent pay raise over the course of three years through a contract with the Kokomo FOP. The new contract sets the starting salary of first-class patrolmen at $59,444 beginning this year. By 2023, the salary for first-class patrolmen increases to $61,846.
In 2020, 15 new officers were hired by the city, three of whom were sworn in last week during the award ceremony. The number of officers hired by KPD in one year was unprecedented, according to Kokomo Police Chief Doug Stout.
“Over the course of the mayor’s first year in the city, these three additions make a total of 15 officers that have been hired by this city administration and this police department,” Stout said. “As far as everybody I’ve checked with, I don’t believe there has ever been 15 officers hired in one year.”
Alongside internal incentives, the city has put a focus on hiring externally as well. In October, the city launched a website, joinkokomopd.com, detailing officer benefits, salaries, and the hiring process for KPD. Similarly, an advertisement began airing on Indianapolis and South Bend local channels, further encouraging officers to apply to work for KPD.
Last week, Moore doubled down on his commitment to bolstering the city’s public safety through both the police and fire departments, saying that it was promoting economic development.
“I say it often, but the department doesn’t work for me just because I’m mayor,” Moore said. “Everyone that I talk to, you know that I’m proud and honored to work with you and for you. Make no mistake that as long as I’m in this position that the Kokomo Police Department and the Kokomo Fire Department will receive my support. As Mr. Deaton mentioned, a safe community is very important to promote economic development and growth and an appreciation of love for one’s community, and if the folks don’t feel safe and secure and protected and well represented, then we’re all at a loss.”