Gary chief wants board to suspend officers facing criminal charges
Post-Tribune staff report May 2, 2013 10:38PM
Updated: June 4, 2013 6:33AM
GARY — If Chief Wade Ingram gets his way, police officers charged with a crime will be forced into an unpaid administrative leave until their matter is resolved.
“I have six officers with pending criminal charges,” Ingram told the Gary Police Civil Service Commission at its monthly meeting Thursday night. “They are receiving financial compensation by the city to perform duties they were not originally hired for, which in essence is rewarding them monetarily for making bad decisions.”
Of the six, five are charged with felonies. Sgt. Wayne Brazelton and Patrolman Jennifer Powell are charged with fraud and theft, Patrolman Marla Guye is charged with trafficking marijuana, Sgt. Jarrett Bridgeman and Patrolman Demonte Yanders are charged with battery. Patrolman Terry Peck is charged with misdemeanor battery. The board approved Thursday night a 45-day unpaid suspension for him on a disciplinary matter from 2011.
Ingram submitted a memo and supporting documentation that state law allows the board to suspend officers with criminal charges and told the commission the criminal allegations reflect poorly on the department and “the overall reputation and relationship with the community we serve.”
Fraternal Order of Police President Sam Abegg said he has not read the memo, but opposes the concept on principle, citing the rights of all individuals of being presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Abegg noted that all six officers are working within the department. Many are assigned to the front desk, where they take reports, supervise prisoners and process paperwork.
The board accepted Ingram’s memo, but did not discuss its content or what the next step might be.