The unit of officers who found undercover surveillance equipment in the office of Deputy Chief Bill Benjamin will no longer report to him.Police sources have warned Straub was establishing his own secret police unit within the Department of Public Safety akin to Hitler's Gestapo to use to retaliate against police officers who don't accept his command of the department. Critics say Benjamin's office was swept for bugs after a former associate of Straub's in New York warned dissenters within the police department that Straub might be surveilling them. Notice the unit is under Deputy Chief Michael Bates. How can someone be working under Straub at the Department of Public Safety and yet be called a Deputy Chief? In addition to moving the Criminal Intelligence Unit, I'm also told Straub has moved police officers who serve as drivers for Mayor Ballard and Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi to the Department of Public Safety where they will now report to him instead of Ciesielski. Critics complain Straub has completely undermined the chain of command within IMPD and effectively neutered Chief Ciesielski. If the goal is to put Straub in charge of IMPD, then why didn't Ballard just name him IMPD Chief instead of creating all of this chaos that has besieged the department.?
13 investigates has learned the Criminal Intelligence Unit is being moved to another deputy chief in the public safety director's office.
Two weeks ago, undercover surveillance equipment was found in the office of Deputy Chief Bill Benjamin. IMPD said the pinhole camera and audio recording device were inoperable and inadvertently left by the previous occupant.
Now 13 Investigates has learned that the group of officers in charge of the city's Criminal Intelligence will no longer come under Benjamin's authority.
The Surveillance and Special Operations Unit is being moved to Deputy Chief Michael Bates in Homeland Security, under Public Safety Director Frank Straub.
"They will all report to the Homeland Security Unit," said IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski.
"Why now?" Eyewitness News asked.
"Why not?" he replied.
Chief Ciesielski denies the move is anything other than an effort to streamline Department operations.
13 Investigates started to ask of the recent incident with the surveillance issues had anything to do with the change. The chief didn't wait for the entire question.
" Absolutely not," he insisted.
"It had nothing to do with it?" we asked.
"Absolutely not," he said.
He went on to provide reasons for the move. "Part of the responsibilities are dignitary protection, helping to plan for special events, they also look at threat assessments and a lot of the security issues when it comes to not only the city but special events. That's what Homeland Security does, so it makes sense."
Ciesielski says he notified Benjamin of the move on Monday, and says as the Chief of Investigations, Benjamin will still be in charge of 300 officers.
The chief says the change was not a secret, but put out no releases because the public does not directly see what the Criminal Intelligence Unit does.
The chief says on Friday, he and the mayor will meet with a large group of ministers and members of the faith-based community to answer as many questions as possible. But he acknowledges they won't be able to answer questions relating to ongoing investigations.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Straub Seizes Control Of Criminal Intelligence Unit Within IMPD
The IMPD officers working in the Criminal Intelligence Unit under Deputy Chief William Benjamin who found a pinpoint camera and audio surveillance equipment in Benjamin's office during a sweep have been reassigned to the Homeland Security Division within the Department of Public Safety headed by Frank Straub. WTHR's Sandra Chapman reports: