A small Indiana town is without a police department after the town marshal and four reserve deputies resigned over complaints the Town Council mismanaged the department and asked officers to perform illegal actions, according to KTLA sister station WXIN.
“We have had issues with the town board and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” said former Bunker Hill Town Marshal Michael Thomison.
Thomison served as town marshal in the small city of about 900 residents some 60 miles north of Indianapolis for four years until Monday night when he and four other officers handed over resignation letters to the council, telling them they have had enough.
“They would not communicate with us or the officers and they kept scaling back,” said Thomison.
In their resignation letters, the officers accuse council members of asking them to “do illegal, unethical, and immoral things.” They cited examples like asking police to run background checks on other town councilors to find their criminal history. The officers also claim they were threatened when they said no.
Another issue they brought up in the letter was their safety. The officers say they were all forced to share one set of body armor, putting their lives on the line while they were out making arrests and serving warrants.
“I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor so I would take mine off and provide it to the other officers. I told them we have to provide this, there is an IC code that explains that and says that the town has to provide that body armor,” Thomison said.
Thomison's resignation was also personal. He was diagnosed with cancer last year, but when he was ready to go back to work in May, Thomison said they would only allow him to work part time. He blames the town councilors and plans to file a lawsuit against them.
“They came at me and said it is costing the town way too much money because of my insurance and they said we are taking you down to part time,” Thomison said.
Thomison and the other officers say they did not want to step down, but feel they had to. For now, the town is relying on outside help as they search for new officers.
“I know that they are scrambling and have contacted some other officers that do not want the position,” he said.
Town Council President Brock Speer says they will release a statement in the near future.