Last month, Advance Indiana exclusively reported on alleged police misconduct at the highest levels within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and it can now be reported that an internal affairs investigation is now underway in response to that report.
In our report last month, a senior IMPD officer told Advance Indiana that a police captain within the department had telephoned police dispatch on or about December 20, 2014 to complain about a motorist following closely behind him. The source told Advance Indiana the captain made the call using his cell phone instead of police radio, identified himself by the name of another police officer and requested that an officer be dispatched to make a traffic stop of the motorist. Later, a motorist driving a BMW called IMPD to complain that he had observed the captain in question driving his police car erratically and ignoring traffic signs.
According to the source, the downtown district failed to test the police officer in question for impairment when he first reported to duty. No blood alcohol test was administered until hours later, and the officer explained away a .04 BAC level to cough syrup he had taken earlier in the day for a cold. The source complained to Advance Indiana that Chief Hite had initially ordered the officer's badge, gun and car taken away from him and to have him placed on immediate suspension--until he learned the actually identity of the officer was different than the officer identified when dispatch had been requested to make a stop of the motorist following behind the officer's car. That move, according to the source, smacked at favoritism and amounted to a direct violation of IMPD policies and procedures touted by the department in its handling of other recent police misconduct cases.
The source provided Advance Indiana the computer automated dispatch (CAD) number to confirm the events of December 20 through a public records request. The department's citizens information desk, however, denied Advance Indiana the record, claiming CAD records were investigative records exempt from public disclosure, even though they are essentially daily logs the department is mandated by state law to maintain in their normal course of business, and which are deemed by state law to be public records. Sources say IMPD frequently releases these records to other members of the media with whom it frequently interacts without formal request. The office of corporation counsel's Samantha DeWester issued a formal letter denying the request in which she cited the investigative records exemption, a decision Advance Indiana has appealed to the state's Public Access Counselor.
Advance Indiana complained to Lori White, Executive Director of the Citizens Police Complaint Office. When first contacted, White acknowledged she had heard rumors of such an incident, though not in the detail provided to her by Advance Indiana. She was able to view the CAD record herself after it was furnished to her, which she said substantiated the substance of what Advance Indiana's source complained about [the run information], and which was also confirmed by other police officers who spoke to Advance Indiana on the condition of anonymity. Each of the police sources feared retaliation from their superiors if they spoke out about the incident. Today, White confirmed to Advance Indiana that an internal affairs investigation has now been launched. "I can confirm there is an IMPD internal investigation by the Professional Standards Division," White wrote in an e-mail to Advance Indiana publisher Gary Welsh today. "Any inquiries regarding the investigation would be directed to IMPD."
It is our hope the department takes this investigation as seriously as it should because it has obviously created significant dissent and rancor among its rank-and-file officers. The allegations, if true, involve a senior police officer possibly operating his vehicle while impaired and making a false report against a member of the public in the name of another police officer, two wrongs which were further exacerbated by senior department officials allegedly failing to follow established practices and procedures for investigating disciplinary matters and, instead, covering up those wrongs. One would think that the fatal alcohol crash involving former Officer David Bisard would have changed the way IMPD handles such matters, but the complaints made by police sources leave plenty of room for doubt.
UPDATE: The Citizens Police Complaint Executive Director Lori White sent this e-mail clarification concerning her review of the CAD record, which I wanted to share with readers for further clarity on what she knows about this matter:
I appreciate you including me in your blog. I did want to fact check you on one bit, which I highlighted below, I seem to recall I said the CAD substantiated the run information only and that the post-run information brought to you by the officers was not included in the CAD. Therefore I could not verify the veracity of their statements with you; only that I had heard some of the same rumors.
Otherwise, you are doing a great job!Thanks for the clarification, Lori.