Investigation and other crews work at the scene of the Richmond Hill explosion in Indianapolis that killed two and irreparably damaged dozens of houses. (WISH photo)
Updated: Thursday, 13 Dec 2012, 3:28 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 13 Dec 2012, 1:13 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The Richmond Hill explosion had a painful and immediate cost, with lives lost and houses damaged beyond repair. But it also carried a heavy price for the city of Indianapolis: a large bill for overtime and other costs that’s already topped $300,000.
In the three weeks after the explosion that killed two, irreparably damaged dozens of houses, and sparked a homicide investigation, police, fire and other Department of Public Safety officials blanketed the area. DPS said officers, firefighters and investigators have accrued 5,204.5 regular-time hours and 1,626.25 overtime hours to date since the night of the explosion. The total cost of those hours is $228,895.66. Add to that $79,778.15 generated through the purchase and use of equipment and other costs, and the total amount spent so far climbs to $308,674.
“From the initial blast, we had a few hundred government employees that were there, and now we're down to about 58 per day,” Public Safety Director Troy Riggs told WISH-TV, our Indianapolis sister station, on Thursday. “The minimum we've had on any day is about 20. The thing that we told people the first night of the explosion was be patient. A lot has to go into these investigations. I think this really showcases the effort that has gone in 24/7 since the explosion occurred.”
During the first week following the explosion, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department alone had 487 officers and investigators working on the ground, accumulating 1,097.25 hours of overtime at a cost of $51,111. Indianapolis Animal Control also had 27 employees on site, and the Department of Homeland Security had four personnel.
Staffing levels have dropped from there, with 205 IMPD officers working on the case in the second week and 58 IMPD officers in the third week.
“And, these numbers are just the Department of Public Safety,” Riggs said. “It doesn't include Code Enforcement, what the prosecutor is doing, or the response from the Sheriff's Department.”
Asked about the impact of the numbers on his department’s budget, Riggs said he had no doubt they would force “creative budgeting next year.” But Riggs said officers are doing the job they have to do.
“It's a criminal homicide. It's one of the largest explosions that's ever occurred in the nation at this level. So we need to make sure we're doing our due diligence. We need to process a lot of evidence. We need to make sure we have an adequate amount of people to bring the person or persons responsible to justice,” he said.
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