Chesterton Tribune

Differences with Council over police policy prompt Brickner resignation

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Some members of the Chesterton Town Council have evidently taken one view of the best interests of the Chesterton Police Department.

Former Police Commission member Steve Brickner has taken another.

It was that difference in views which prompted him to resign his seat abruptly last week.

“Prior to this past year it has been a pleasure serving the Town of Chesterton on the Police Commission,” Brickner states in a letter dated Jan. 8. “Recently, I have struggled to reconcile my thoughts on what is in the best interest of the CPD with those expressed by this council.”

“I realize there are some major issues facing the department at this time and in the near future but feel the best course of action for myself is to resign from the Chesterton Police Commission effective immediately,” Brickner states.

In his letter Brickner, a former council member himself, cites an instance in which he believes himself to have been “misled” by unspecified council members.

Brickner declined to elaborate today but did tell the Chesterton Tribune that the issue is not at all the state of the CPD but some council members’ impression of that state.

Last year Member Jim Ton, R-1st, served as liaison to the CPD; this year he was replaced in that role by Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th. In December the council declined to re-appoint Mark Acevedo to his seat on the commission, as Acevedo had requested, and replaced him instead with Craig Stafford.

The council is currently inviting residents interested in filling the vacancy on the commission to submit letters of application by 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25. Candidates may be Republicans or Independents. They may not be Democrats.

Hiring Update

Meanwhile, Police Chief George Nelson told the commission at its meeting Wednesday evening that heis waiting for physicals to be conducted on the top two candidates for the pair of new patrol officer positions in the CPD.

Once those physical exams are conducted, the results will be forwarded to the pension board. Nelson said that he is hopeful the two new recruits will begin by Feb. 1 or Feb. 16.

Funds for the new officers became available through the excess levy granted to the Town of Chesterton by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance in 2008, based on the need to provide municipal services to recently annexed land east of Ind. 49 and south of the Indiana Toll Road.

In Gratitude

In other business, the commission acknowledged three generous contributions to the CFD Gift Fund: $25 from the Sieverts, $500 from the Manuzzies, and $50 from the Kluths.

“It’s all appreciated,” Member Nick Walters said.

The commission also took receipt of a note from Patty Neely thanking the CPD for “providing a safe route” for the recent Sleighbell 5K Run. “We truly appreciate your braving the elements to support our event and assure the safety of our runners and walkers,” Heely wrote. “We had over 200 people registered for the event and zero reported mishaps. Thank you for all you do.”

Election of Officers

By a vote of 2-0 the commission elected Walters to an interim presidency and newest member Craig Stafford to the interim vice-presidency.

Walters said that when the Town Council has filled the vacancy created by Brickner’s resignation, a new vote will be held to elect permanent officers for the year.

Farewell, Greetings

Walters took a moment at the end of the meeting to bid Brickner farewell. “I was sad to hear he was resigning,” he said. “He will be greatly missed. I wish him well in all his endeavors.”

Nelson for his part greeted Stafford to the commission.

December in Review

In December the CPD responded to 1,041 calls (1,212 in November), filed 73 cases (85), issued 39 citations and 71 warnings (67 and 150), filed three felony charges and 10 misdemeanor (11 and 25), served two warrants (two), and investigated 37 accidents with eight injuries (35 with 10).

In addition, the CPD assigned 18 juvenile cases in December and closed 17 of them (22 and 21 in November).

Calls for service in December included 50 alarms (42 in November), 11 animal complaints (13), five reports of battery (one), three burglaries (three), three counterfeit bills (three), nine domestic calls (five), eight reports of fraud (eight), 21 miscellaneous juvenile complaints (23), one motor vehicle theft (two), four noise complaints (seven), six parking violations (two), two peddler complaints (one), 30 residence checks (30), one reportof robbery (zero), one report of shoplifting (one), 39 suspicious circumstances (54), 12 suspicious persons (12), 23 suspicious vehicles (15), 24 thefts (14), 73 traffic stops (167), one train complaint (zero), and seven incidents of vandalism (16).



Posted 1/14/2010