Indiana town is without police officers

Every officer resigned
Posted at 12:13 AM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 00:13:55-05

The Indiana town of Bunk Hill is without police officers and the police department said the Town Council is to blame. 

According to Fox 59 in Indianapolis, every single police officer walked off the job. 

“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.

In their resignation letter, the officers accused the council members of asking them to do "illegal, unethical and immoral things." Officers cited examples like being asked to run background checks on other town councilors. They said they were threatened if they refused. Some officers also felt like their safety was in jeopardy. 

Fox 59 said that Thomison's resignation was personal. He was diagnosed with cancer last year. When he was ready to come back to work, he claims the department would only allow him to work part time. Thomison said many officers said they didn't want to step down, but felt like they had to. 

The Town of Bunk Hill issued the following statement Wednesday night,

Like most small towns, there have been from time to time, disagreements in the policy making process between the town council and other town departments. The current town council as well as prior councils have, on occasion, had disagreements with Mr. Thomison over a number of things. These disagreements have primarily been caused by the lack of funding available to the town to invest in the police department. However, the council denies that it has failed to provide body armor for the marshal or reserve deputies. The council is well aware of Indiana law on the topic and has complied with it fully. Further, the council absolutely denies that it has ever asked Mr. Thomison or any of the reserve deputies to be involved in any illegal, unethical or immoral actions.

The council admits that it had made a number of cuts to the police department over the last few years. This was a decision the town made due to a lack of funding. Bunker Hill is diligently working to solve this problem for the coming year. The cuts made to the police department were not made with the intention of jeopardizing the safety of any of the town's police officers. Over the last few years, the Council has made attempts to find additional money for the department. Mr. Thomison was instrumental in obtaining a large sum of money on behalf of the town. However, he fails to state that the police department received the benefit of a large portion of that funding.

As Mr. Thomison has stated, there is currently a lawsuit pending against the town relating to Indiana's Open Door Law. The council denies that it has violated Indiana's Open Door Law in any manner. However, the council will not comment further on this topic as the litigation is still pending.

The resignation of the entire police force has come as a shock to the council. It has never been the goal to dismantle or otherwise endanger the town police department or officers. The council thanks these officers for their service to the town. Bunker Hill is in the process of obtaining a new marshal and reserve deputies. The council asks for patience from the town residents in this process.

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