Wednesday, August 08, 2007

IMPD's Failure To Swear In New Officers: Is It Strike Three For Mayor Peterson?

As it becomes more apparent that Mayor Bart Peterson's bid for a third term hangs in the balance, three months from now political observers will be asking themselves what issue(s) sealed Mayor Peterson's fate. Reading Jon Murray's story on the front page of today's Star about a DUI case getting tossed in Marion Superior Court because the IMPD arresting officer had never been sworn in after the merger of IPD and the Sheriff's Department, I couldn't help but ask myself if this wasn't Peterson's strike three. As Murray opened his story:

A judge's ruling Tuesday that a woman's drunken driving arrest was illegal because the arresting officer was not sworn in after this year's police merger could affect a wave of other criminal cases.

For now, Judge Reuben Hill's ruling likely means misdemeanor and felony charges against Cheryl Oddi-Smith, 44, will be thrown out of Marion Superior Court.

But prosecutors worry other defense attorneys might use the case to challenge arrests by Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers in much more serious crimes. A spokesman for the Marion County prosecutor said the Indiana attorney general already plans to appeal.

Hill's ruling rests on whether officers retained their sworn status when the merger between the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the Indianapolis Police Department took effect Jan. 1. Without it, they would lose the authority to make many arrests. Police officials believed the status did carry over and made no effort to ensure every member of the force took a new oath after the merger.

But the judge agreed with defense attorneys Annie Fierek and James Voyles, who argued that William J. Bueckers, the arresting officer, lacked such status and couldn't arrest Oddi-Smith.

Think about it. Potentially, thousands of criminal cases this year hang in the balance because nobody thought to swear in our police officers. "Top brass and some officers did take the oath Jan. 2 at a ceremony marking the transition," Murray writes. "Attendance was voluntary," he adds. "'Why didn't they do it? It would have taken 10 minutes,' said Henry Karlson, a professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis who has criticized aspects of the consolidation." "He noted some officers had questioned the decision not to require them to be resworn."

You may recall that very few police officers attended last January's ceremony marking the transition into a new law enforcement agency, IMPD. That was because many officers were still miffed about the merger itself, primarily because it put Sheriff Frank Anderson (D) in charge of the department, relieving the Mayor of this major responsibility. If the Mayor is lucky, an appeals court will reverse Judge Hill's decision and save the Mayor from another major debacle. That may not be enough for voters, though, who have already begun to solidify their view that Mayor Peterson's administration of the city has been something short of competent the past 8 years in light of skyrocketing taxes and crime.

Meanwhile, Mayor Peterson unsuccessfully attempted yesterday to impress us by announcing the first cuts in the city budget will take place in his own office. "Justin Ohlemiller, deputy chief of staff, said at the hearing that the mayor would not fill an executive assistant position or an assistant deputy mayor position in next year's budget," reports the Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy. "The budget of the mayor's office will decrease by $106,000 this year and slightly more in 2008." Do you see the absurdity here? You tell us you're doing away with an assistant to an assistant deputy mayor and an assistant deputy mayor to a deputy mayor? "Tough times call for sacrifice and leadership by example," Ohlemiller said. Give me a break, Ohlemiller. You don't expect us to believe that $106,000 represents 10% of the mayor's personal budget do you? What about all those other high-paid people working for the mayor who are being paid out of other budgets? Let's say, like the Bond Bank? And by the way Ohlemiller, do we really need a "deputy chief of staff"?


Wilson46201 said...

Sadly, AI could see a dog piss on a fire hydrant and then quickly write a posting accusing Mayor Peterson allowing vicious pitbulls to disrespect the disrupted IFD ...

Anonymous said...

Wilson, you're close...

AI would see said dog pissing on said fire hydrant and not only accuse the mayor, but also talk about how it was clear that as a result, every dog in the county is going to vote against the Mayor, and its all over for him.

Anonymous said...

I am afraid if our city was not already bankrupt, that this legal decision just bankrupted us. this means we may have to pay back every speeding ticket. It could also mean that we have liability to pay back attorney's fees of all the people arrested. And what about bail of people who were illegally arrested?

Sheriff Anderson and the mayor's office, via their arrogance, greed, and negligence, have bankrupted us.

They KNEW many of the officers were not sworn and it could bring potential liability to the citizens of Indianapolis and they flat out ignored it after it was reported in Indy Undercover. And they cannot deny they do not read Indy Undercover. They obsess over that blog daily.

All of the citizens of Indianapolis are going to need to pull together to get us through the next few years as we dig our way out.

I have no idea how these men without honor sleep at night.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

melyssa, stick to the dominatrix thing. I understand you're very good at it.

And your property tax rants, while not always correct, are spirited and welcomed.

Schilling for that raggy blog IndyU is not very becoming for you.

Come on...they KNEW this was a potential liability and purposely continued the practice?

Maybe, just maybe, they feel the ordinance was solid. For you and all the other IndyU posters, hear this loud and clear: the merger is over. It will save money. Common sense tells anyone that. Mistakes have been made, but none was made with the intent to defraud the city or bilk the taxpayers.

Build a bridge and get over it already.

Anonymous said...

"Mistakes have been made, but none was made with the intent to defraud the city or bilk the taxpayers."

And THAT makes it less of problem? Ineptitude and ignorance is OK, if one is part and parcel with the current administration?

Many people in the private sector making mistakes of that magnitude would be asked to resign or retire early - effective immediately. I don't suppose anybody is considering that, who might have been responsible, eh?

Anonymous said...

This is a slick defense attorney who will do anything to get bad guys off.

The CoA will strike this down.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the text of Judge Hill's decsion, but my understanding is that (1) the City-County-Council did expressly indicate that the officers retained their authority after the merger, but that (2) there was an administrative order, not fully implemented with respect to most officers, that required them to take a new oath. It would seem to me that a powerful case can be made that the ordinance trumps any administrative order here. Unfortunately given AI's current "blame everything on Peterson" mode it seems to have lost it usual calm and rational analysis of these kinds of legal issues.

Anonymous said...

I don't "schill" for Indy U, but I do read it. And I remember clearly reading back in January that our officers were not sworn in.

I have no idea why they made swearing in "voluntary" unless for political reasons. I've never ever heard of a voluntary swearing in of any public servant. Can someone sight another example for us?

It looks like the law was broken. If we are going to have laws, we need to follow the letter of the law.

City council passes unconstitutional ordinances all the time. I was told this by attorney Greg Bowes (now assessor)during the time he sat on council. He was hired to advise me on Marion County and Indiana state criminal code and ordinances as they related to my business and the events I ran.

Also, city legal counsel is often wrong and their mistakes are costly to the city in terms of money and freedom of the citizens they represent.

And thanks for the compliment about the dominatrix thing...I am very good at it, inspite of the mistakes I make along the way. Just as no parent is perfect, I am not perfect in that role either.

Domination and submission does not necessarily take place in the bedroom, but it permeates ALL relationships...including the relationship between the People (who are Dominants) and their government (who are submissive).

And in regard to the merger, I think it is/was a good idea. However, its implementation was a disaster handled by men without honor or conscience as evidenced by their arrogance and greed.

Anonymous said...

Men "without honor" ?


That just isn't the case. And that reduces your comments to shrill nonsense.

Too bad, too. You were kinda on a roll.

Anonymous said...

having been to several recent CCC general and committee meetings, i think melyssa can stand by her "men without honor quote." for that matter, i think there are a couple of women without honor as well.

Anonymous said...

The name of the one defense attorney James Voyles sounds familiar....

Gary R. Welsh said...

anon 8:57 said, "Unfortunately given AI's current "blame everything on Peterson" mode it seems to have lost it usual calm and rational analysis of these kinds of legal issues."

It seems to me that Voyles and his associates arguments were rational, and I can't say that Judge Hill's decision was irrational. It seems you're lumping them in with your criticism of me whe you suggest I'm not being rational.

Anonymous said...

This issue will hinge on Indiana Constitutional Law. It will not hinge on what our CCC said, did or intended to do regarding the merger and required oaths or affirmations.

A Sheriff's Deputy IS NOT a City Police Officer and their authority is defined

A City Police Officer IS NOT a Sheriff's Deputy and their authority is defined.

When these two SEPERATE AND DISTINCT law enforcement agencies merged a new oath or affirmation was required to give authority to them under a NEW law enforcement agency know as IMPD. This was NOT done.

I would venture to say, considering the involvement of defense attorneys like Voyles, the case will go to the Indiana Supreme Court.
Again, it all hinges on the Indiana Constitution.

It all could have been avoided had the Mayor's legal counsel listened.

Anonymous said...

Their arrogance kept our city's legal counsel from listening. Again, I stand behind my "men without honor" critique. I am in a position to know first hand how little honor these men have.

By the way, Steve Campbell told me that I am welcome to come to his office with my attorney and go through line by line every expense (on the taxpayer dime) they occured trying to sue me for a zoning violation suit which they moved to dismiss after 20 months of litigation.

I placed a call to his office yesterday to ask for an appointment? Anyone want to place odds as to whether I will get a call back?

Anonymous said...

"the City-County-Council did expressly indicate that the officers retained their authority after the merger, but that (2) there was an administrative order, not fully implemented with respect to most officers, that required them to take a new oath. It would seem to me that a powerful case can be made that the ordinance trumps any administrative order here. Unfortunately given AI's current "blame everything on Peterson" mode it seems to have lost it usual calm and rational analysis of these kinds of legal"

Where is it written that the CCC has jurisdiction over the state constitution?

Anonymous said...

first hand experience here as well. steve is great about extending offers to talk and then never returning the subsequent phone call or email to set up the appointment. good luck with that one.

as for the original point of the AI post, marion county is so strongly democratic now it is hard to see a scenario where peterson loses to an unknown challenger. i am basing this on the number of straight ticket votes in the last municipal election. unless opposition voter are really, really motived (they are) AND peterson supporters demotivated (who knows), he wins.

nonetheless, it will be interesting to see which polls they don't have workers for this time. i assure you they won't be in center township.

Anonymous said...

AI: Your comment wasn't intended to impugn your rational analyis, which I almost always find impeccible and well-researched. I simply meant to point out that usually you are quick to do such an analysis as part of any other commentary, and this time you don't appear to have. Hopefully that will come in due course.

Anonymous said...

That last comment should have began with "My" comment, not "yours". Some of us folks have a bad habit of pressing the "post" button to quickly.

Wilson46201 said...

According to official figures from the former County Clerk (Republican) each political party receives only about 10% of their votes from straight ticket voting. Each party has about identical straight ticket voting: 10%.

Yes, Republicans vote straight ticket in the same proportion as Democrats do.

By the way, Center Township is only 41% Black.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, just maybe, they feel the ordinance was solid. For you and all the other IndyU posters, hear this loud and clear: the merger is over. It will save money. Common sense tells anyone that.

I don't think the savings will justify the damage done to both former departments. Also, why would they think a city ordinance would trump state law? The way I see it, this can easily be an issue. If a state trooper were to quit and work for Fishers, a totally different department, he/she would have to take a new oath. The MCSD patrol division and IPD no longer exist. They men and women of those departments took an oath to protect to provide police services to their respective districts. No oath was taken for the new department, so the officers are not police officers. The bridge you speak of was burned by Peterson and Anderson. It will take 20 years to re-built. Until then, things won't be pretty.

It would seem to me that a powerful case can be made that the ordinance trumps any administrative order here.

So? City ordinance does not trump state law.

Anonymous said...

1. Wilson, you were banned from this blog.

2. Wilson can obfuscate and divert attention from the thread, but the bottom line is:

**Police officers are appointed by the governmental body. The oath is merely ceremonial.

Anonymous said...

Hill is the same criminal coddler that let a 10 time drunk driver sentenced with less than the maximum. Now, how can anyone find anything mitigating about a 10 time drunk driver?

Anonymous said...

Wilson says Center Township is only 41% Black!

Ha Ha Ha!

Would YOU like to work for the Census Bureau and go into the 'Hood to get population numbers for Uncle Sam? Not a chance!!

I'll give you the 41% Wilson but don't forget the other 30% that sort a hang around from crib to crib from time to time.

I can't wait until election to challange voters at the polling places. Do you still have to check your firearm 100 feet from the polling place?

At least pollworkers are still sworn in aren't they?

Anonymous said...

Not just a few..but most officers were never sworn in. This was brought up as a potential issue by the rank and file long ago but because the admin didn't think of it first it was dismissed as an unnecessary step (but the new badges and patches were necessary?). In reality the appeals court most likely will rule in the city's favor but in the meantime the prudent thing to do would be to swear all the officers in just in case.

On another note, it would be interesting to see a comparison of the command structure of the new IMPD vs the old IPD. The new department is extremely top heavy and some of those slots could be easily eliminated, moving those positions to the street were they're needed. It wasn't that long ago IPD went through a restructuring process (maybe 1998 or 99?) and did exactly that. At the time it was noted that we were top heavy and not only would these reassignments save money but also result in greater efficiency in the department. Now we have reversed course and have un-needed layers of management and positions at the top of the organization. It would also be interesting to see how the Marion County Sheriffs Dept has grown in size since the first of the year. While the Indianapolis city government needs to seriously reduce its spending, the sheriff depart and IMPD should not be exempt solely based on the declared war on crime. There's a lot of waste going on in the public safety arena that has nothing to do with catching bad guys but more with feeding egos and pocketbooks at the top.

Wilson46201 said...

Yes, poll workers take an oath.

You will likely be in damn serious trouble if you attempt to challenge voters while openly armed.

Anonymous said...

"Hill is the same that let a 10 time drunk driver sentenced with less than the maximum. Now, how can anyone find anything mitigating about a 10 time drunk driver?"

Hill is a former State Trooper. I would hardly call a Trooper a "criminal coddler".

"Police officers are appointed by the governmental body. The oath is merely ceremonial."

The State Constitution states clearly that they must be sworn.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, poll workers take an oath.

You will likely be in damn serious trouble if you attempt to challenge voters while openly armed"

Mark Anthony (Tony) Duncan was armed as he entered polling places last November. He flashed his gun and badge at several of us last year during the campaign. He told us he was the Ward Chair and could do as he pleased. Isn’t he one of your buddies Wilson? Is he exempt from these rules?

Wilson46201 said...

So why didn't anybody file an official protest or is this one of those urban myths circulating by losing Republicans? If you see a violation of the law, report it immediately, not mope and layabout for months!!!

Of course, the person making these serious accusations is doing it anonymously...

Anonymous said...

Your time's fast approaching Mr.Wilson and when it comes I hope you enjoy your stay in the Terre Haute Federal Pen.
You want my name Wilson, you'll even have better than that real soon. You'll have the pleasure of meeting me in person. A hint, my position in law enforcement requires I do not wear a uniform, only a badge and a side piece.

Wilson46201 said...

Yeah, sure!

And maybe you're Queen of Rumania too?

Anonymous said...

Wilson46201 is you real name? I would say that "name" is an alias. Same as an anonymous - of unknown authorship. I'm sure your paycheck doesn't say "Wilson46201", but then if you're associated with the current administration it might to hide the record.

Why don't you just use your real name, if you're so "honest and upright"?

Anonymous said...

Laundering money sound familiar Wilson?
How about organizing written plans with physical intimidation against political adversaries? Sound familiar?
Tax evasion? Sound familiar?
Facilitating bribes? Sound familiar?
Association with known individuals involved in illegal numbers racketeering? Sound familiar?

We are indeed known by the friends we choose to keep are we not? You Mr. Wilson, chose poorly.

Wilson46201 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wilson46201 said...

My name is fairly well-known in political circles: Wilson Allen. I'm retired on pensions & have no "boss" so I'm free to speak my mind without having to be seen as the responsible spokesperson for anybody...

Many years ago I was advised by wiser & older folk that if I were involved in serious politics, I'd better keep my life legal and above-board. That's why I'm amused at threats from anonymous nobodies. I know that I've done nothing wrong and indictable...

The last comment sounds like one of Jocelyn Tandy's tired screeds ... boring!

Wilson46201 said...

People that seriously were planning to indict me would know my name is not "Mr. Wilson", you lying fool!

Anonymous said...

How YOU look at what you've done and how the COURT looks at what you've done are two entirely different things.
You were referred to as Mr.Wilson because that is how I WISHED to address you! You are WILSON are you not, as in WILSON46201? The same WILSON who goes by that name and not his real on their blog posts?
We know who you are.

And don't make me laugh about being Ms.Tandy.
Ms.Tandy has more than one skeleton hanging in HER closet just like you Wilson Allen
The next time you see Ms.Tandy ask her if she "knows" a former Indiana Democratic Party District Chairman by the name of Russell "Bun" Gallahan.
Now how would someone who has not been around as long as you have know about that MR.WILSON?
How would someone not on the inside of the Dem Party know that?


Anonymous said...

To get back on topic and off the WILSON AGENDA. The problem with this whole mess lies not with Judge Hill,or Attorney Voyles. The problem lies with Mayor Bart who created this mess. LEO's didnt want CONsolidation and they knew it wouldnt save money. Now taxpayers are paying more for Public Safety and getting less protection than what they originally had. The new department is currently down 140 officers and another 120 are due to retire in December. Lawsuits are pending against the city in Federal Court over discrimination in promotional practices as well as Deputies who have sued over being forced out of their Social Security benefits. IPD Officers will soon file a similar suit because the city has refused to give them a similar benefit package that by law they are required to do. This whole mess would not have occurred had this merge not been forced on not only the officers but citizens as well. I hope this is a wake up call for those of you who cant seem to find it in yourselves to vote for someone other than Bart. Right now I'd vote for a ham sandwich if it were on the ballot. Remember Bart had no experience in running a city when he first became mayor, he was only an aide in the Bayh administration. Some like to paint him as a great businessman. Let me ask you this, if he is so great are all these probems an earmark of a great businessman??

indyernie said...

Damm Wilson, this guy hates your politics more than I do.

I hope he carries out his threat legally and not physically.

Wilson you have such an out going personality, so honest and understanding.
No wonder you make so many friends.

Unknown said...

12:07 writes:

The State Constitution states clearly that they must be sworn.

Where does it say that?

Anonymous said...

12:07 Wilson, we know that was you with your obfuscation and lie.

You said "Hill is a former State Trooper. I would hardly call a Trooper a "criminal coddler"." Wilson, Hill is a criminal coddler!

You said "The State Constitution states clearly that they must be sworn." The state constitution does not have anything to say about police officers.

You are banned, Wilson. Your obfuscation and take-over attempts will be called out for the lies they are.

Wilson46201 said...

Gary runs this blog -- not some anonymous nobody who cant even get her ascriptions correct. It was an anonymous nobody at 12:07 that made those allegations, not me.


Anonymous said...

The decision shows why elderly judges need to prove they are not senile. As one who has been in court and seen a judge fall asleep and snore during trial, pick his nose with a pencil during trial, pull out a phone during trial and make a call while attorneys were presenting cases....I believe that all too often judges go "over the hill" and sit on the bench without their faculties.

Wilson46201 said...

Not that it should mean anything but Judge Reuben Hill was elected on the Republican ticket...

Anonymous said...

Wilson, it doesn't mean anything, to bloggers who call the mayor and others "men without honor."

Disagreements are fine. Disparaging their honor, on the basis of stern but simple policy disagreements, is wickedly simplistic.

To answer the two A.I. questions, in Kucinich style:

No. (It's not strike three. Strike two hasn't been counted yet, but it's close)

And no. (we don't need a deputy chief of staff. Altho Justin is a nice fellow.)

There. See how easy that was?

Wilson46201 said...

Interestingly, I just saw our eminent Republican Attorney General, Stephen Carter, agree with Kobi Wright about no oath need be taken by police officers to obtain their powers. Carter said he will even lead the appeal from Indianapolis...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, AI, but in order to run a city, you need staff. Now, you may disagree with the policy positions taken by the mayor's office, but as a citizen who is familiar with the mayor's office I can tell you that they could use some more staff. You might not think we need a deputy COS, or you may just not like Justin O., but the Governor has a deputy COS - so should he cut that person? It's a necessary position.

At least Peterson doesn't have Ike Randolph running a Front Porch Alliance with 5 employees on the government dime doing religious work - wanna go back to those days?

Show me the members of the mayor's staff that should be cut. I'm curious. Because almost every major issue, like crime, economic development, etc. has just one staff person handling that issue for the entire city.

Anonymous said...

5:59, I'm a Democrat who believes we can do with less mayoral staff.

We don't need one staff person for every major issue in the city.

We need people to ride herd on multiple issues. It's called multi-tasking. After all these mayoral aides have no power except to report back to the mayor. Seems like an extra layer to me.

A few assistants, yeah...but so many?

Anonymous said...

With clearly don't get it then, how many issues mayor's staff deals with. Do you want the city to fall apart?

Anonymous said...

From anon 639:
"Do you want the city to fall apart? "

Look around you, it already is.

Anonymous said...


Wilson, who is banned from your blog has admitted to contributing 20% of the comments so far. He has actually contributed more.

-Wilson Allen, a waste, always obfuscating the blog.

Anonymous said...

6:39, I DO get it.

Mayoral assistants are supposed to act as liaisons with certain departments and functions of city government. As such they are to observe and report back.

Not administer the department(s).

Are you telling us, that one assistants can't interface with, say, the Department of Public Helath AND the Department of Public Works?

Surely you jest.

Mayuoral staffs nationwide have expanded beyond belief. And the assistants in question havhe become quasi-administrators of the vey departments they're supposed to observe.

The city might fall apart. If we don't have enough mayoral assistants. That's rich. And obviously written by someone who toils in one of those jobs.

Get a clue, pal. The public is angry, and this is one of the reasons they're angry. Learn from it.

Or face the consequences.

Anonymous said...


You are clearly a person who lives a sheltered life. Look around! I see a vibrant city with people working, enjoying life and attempting to make this a better place than it already is. If all you want to do is bash the city- get a life, we have no need for people like you!