Whitestown Police Chief Dennis Anderson got permission to notify two officers of charges from the Whitestown Board of Police Commissioners during their meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 13.
Andersonis charging Sergeant Chris Nelson and Officer Kyle Hartman with conduct injurious and detrimental to the department.
Andersonwill notify the officers of the charges and will dismiss both. Nelson and Hartman have the right to a hearing to appeal the dismissal.
Alex Intermill, town attorney, said the charges are not criminal.
“This is simply an employment matter,” Intermill said. “We are going about this in the same way as the process is for dismissing an officer.”
Andersonsaid the charges were a result of an internal investigation conducted by Intermill. The investigation lasted three weeks.
Intermill’s report states that “Nelson’s misconduct has created conflict in the department and negatively impacted the operations and image of the department.”
Several instances are outlined in the report in which Nelson made negative comments about the police department to members of the department and to people outside the department.
According to the report, in June 2010, Nelson was stripped of K9 duties, position and equipment for making comments detrimental to the department.
Nelson, according to the report, told members of Zionsville Police Department that the purchase of a new fully-equipped police-package Tahoe PPV was made to “shut him up and to keep him from leaving to another department.”
Also, according to the report, Nelson openly questioned the legality of the hiring of Sergeant Ed Savage. Intermill investigated the hiring and determined the hiring was lawful.
In a separate incident, Nelson ignored the chain-of-command and conducted an independent, unauthorized investigation, according to the report.
Nelson’s independent investigation concerned a Saturday, Sept. 24, incident in which Officer Nate Harves, a K9 officer, assisted the Lebanon Police Department and Boone County Sheriff’s Department. Nelson copied a report completed by Harves of the incident and gave it to Ryan Batts, Lebanon Police Department officer, to review. Batts wrote his own account of the incident.
There were several inconsistencies between the report filed by Batts and the report filed by Harves. Chief Anderson investigated the incident and found that Harves’ actions were appropriate and complied with department policy.
According to Intermill’s investigation and report, Hartman also made negative comments about the department to members of the department and to people outside the department.
Hartman alerted the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy that Savage was allegedly inflating training hours. The department is investigating this matter on its own, and Hartman did not follow the proper chain-of-command.
The report also states that “it appears Hartman has also communicated his negative sentiments about the department to other members of the community outside the department, including members of the Whitestown Fire Department.”
Kevin Russel, president of the board of police commissioners, said the community should focus on all the good work the department has done.
“We are very fortunate to have Chief Anderson,” he said. “This department has done a lot of good work and will continue to do good work.”