The officers of the
Chesterton Police Department are not letting the risk of COVID-19 prevent
them from doing their duties.
So Police Chief
Dave Cincoski unequivocally stated at last week’s Zoom meeting of the Police
Commission, in response to a query from Member Pete Duda.
“Are any officers
second-guessing calls or a willingness to act?” Duda wondered.
emphatic. “Absolutely not,” he said. “We have a large inventory of personal
protection equipment which all the troops have access to. I would say just
the opposite. We’ve had people on calls who are positive for COVID-19 or
who’ve claimed to be positive, but we’ve seen no back-stepping or hesitation
to take action when appropriate.”
Cincoski had one
other observation about the COVID-19 crisis, what he called “the unsavory
portion of the stay-at-home order": in the days before Gov. Eric Holcomb
lifted the order, to begin a phased-in re-opening of the state’s economy,
the CPD responded to a spike in domestic batteries. “But things have calmed
down since the stay-at-home order was lifted,” he added.
There’ve been no
issues to date related to the re-opening of businesses, Cincoski also noted.
Chesterton residents grateful to the CPD for brightening the days of
children in town--by participating in birthday parades and, of course,
escorting the Easter Bunny on April 11--have put their money where their
mouth is, with donations to the CPD Gift Fund. $75 from Jim and Kari Murray,
who wrote, “Thank you for participating in the birthday parade for our
grandson, Cooper Murray. We so appreciate your taking the time to make a
4-year-old’s shelter-at-home so memorable.” $25 from Charlie and Barbara
Sanchez: “You always are concerned for us. God bless you always. We send
love.” And an anonymous note: “I was outside reading a book on April 11. I
was feeling down in the dumps that day. When you brought your police cars
and the fire truck went by, it brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful
thing to do for the children and the seniors also. Thank you very much.”
In other business,
members voted unanimously to promote Cpl. Jamie Coppolo to the probationary
rank of Sergeant, effective in the first week of June when she returns from
light duty after suffering a non-duty related medical issue.
The position was
opened with the retirement of Sgt. Don Moloney.
Members also voted
unanimously to end the probationary status, effective April 28, of 2nd Class
Patrol Officer Ryan MIller, who came to the CPD in October after two years
with the LaPorte Police Department. “He’s received very high marks from his
superiors,” Cincoski said.
probationary status entitles Miller to take his assigned squad car home with
recommendation, members deferred scheduling an executive session until their
June 11 meeting to interview candidates for patrol officer.
“Our activity right
now is pretty slow, so it wouldn’t be a good time for field training a new
hire,” Cincoski remarked. “And the vacant position is not currently
detrimental to operations.”
The three new Ford
Explorer squad cars purchased through the 2019 order have all been equipped
and are now in the CPD fleet, Cincoski reported.
The three new squad
cars purchased through the 2020 fleet order, however, are pending, with the
temporary shut-down of the manufacturing line due to the pandemic. The plant
is back in operation, Cincoski said, but a delivery date has not yet been
members authorized Cincoski to apply for another bulletproof vest grant
through the U.S. Department of Justice. Those grants reimburse half the cost
of a new vest.
As Cincoski noted,
under state law all law enforcement agencies are required to provide sworn
officers with warrantied bulletproof vests. The warranties expire after five
years, though, and the vests need to be replaced.
In a nod to
National Police Week, May 10-16, Town Council Member and CPD liaison Bob
Allison, D-3rd, expressed his profound gratitude to Cincoski, his officers,
and the Police Commission itself. “We appreciate what the department does
for the citizens and the community,” he said. “And we appreciate what you do
too, Mike and Pete and Jeff,” speaking of members Mike Orlich, Pete Duda,
and Jeff Hornyak.
“Thank you, it’s a
pleasure to serve,” Duda replied.
thanked Cincoski specifically for his time--and Town Engineer Mark O’Dell’s
as well--in formulating the guidelines approved by the Town Council last
week regulating “gatherings” in town parks and on municipal property. “Chief
Cincoski spent an awful lot of time on the regulations for gatherings,”
Allison said. “The council truly appreciates his time and dedication. This
is something that the general public does not see, along with the
development of new officers.”
April in Review
The CPD responded
to 543 calls in April (619 in March), filed 46 cases (52), issue 14
citations and seven warnings (29 and 79), and investigated 11 accidents with
two injuries (23 accidents with nine injuries).
Calls for service
last month included one report of shoplifting (one in March), 71 suspicious
persons or vehicles (81), four thefts (six), 18 alarms (20), four animal
complaints (one), 12 traffic stops (129), 21 well-being checks (18), six
reports of battery (one), three reports of fraud (four), one motor vehicle
theft (two), five runaways (none), and one report of a sex offense (none).