Friday, December 16, 2016

12162016 - Commendable: Entire Bunker Hill Indiana Police Department Quits - In Protest Against City Corruption - News Articles



True Heroes who took a stand against corruption:





Updated News Articles - Below Videos

































































After police force quits, town council members asked to resign over criminal concerns
Indy Star
December 21, 2016 - 5:56 p.m. 

BUNKER HILL, Ind. – The former president of the Bunker Hill town council is calling for the resignation of two current council members due to concerns over their criminal history or association with felons, reports Fox59.

Robert Cox is asking for Louis Nino and Carl Wade to submit their resignations. Cox says their histories makes them biased against the town’s police department.

Council members are trying to hire a new town marshal after the formal marshal and his volunteer deputies resigned last week, leaving the town without a police department.

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.

Court documents show Nino was arrested in February 2015 on intimidation and theft charges. Those charges were dropped in Sept. 2016.

Wade’s wife Patricia was found guilty in 2011 of stealing more than $53,000 in poor-relief funds from Pipe Creek Township. She was convicted on five of seven charges. Her sentence was modified to be served on in-home detention. She also had to pay back $53,714.

According to the Kokomo Tribune, neither Nino or Wade responded to Cox during the meeting.

Nino told the Tribune after Monday’s meeting that he had no intention of resigning. Nino also defended Wade, who left after the meeting.

The Miami County Sheriff’s Department has been assisting in police duties while the town works to hire a new marshal.












Accusations of local corruption come after Indiana town’s entire police force quits in protest 
JASON SILVERSTEIN
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, December 20, 2016, 2:40 PM

Now that a small Indiana town has gone a week without a police department, a former town council president has suggested that corruption in local government drove the cops away.

The former leader of the Bunker Hill Town Council called Monday for two council members to resign — accusing them of letting criminal histories bias them against their own police force.

Every member of the force resigned last week in protest against the council.

“These council members have suffered direct arrest and/or felony convictions in the community,” Robert Cox said in the weekly meeting, according to the Kokomo Tribune.

“This is directly putting the safety and security of citizens in Bunker Hill at risk due to bias opinions of law enforcement.”

Cox called for the resignations of board members Louis Nino and Carl Wade, saying both have a beef with local cops.

Nino had been arrested in February 2015 and charged with misdemeanor intimidation and theft, according to court documents Cox brought with him. Those charges were dropped this September.

Wade’s wife Patricia, meanwhile, was convicted for stealing more than $53,000 in poor relief funds from Pipe Creek Township. She was sentenced to two years of in-home detention and two years of probation.

Nino defended himself and Wade after the meeting, telling the Tribune neither is a “perfect person.”

“If I'm wrong, let the court decide, not the court of public opinion,” Nino said.

Bunker Hill’s town marshal Michael Thomison and his four unpaid deputies turned in their walking papers last Monday, saying the town council had cut too deeply into the force’s resources and asked them for unethical favors, such as running criminal background checks.

Since then, the town of about 900 people has had no police force, and the Miami County Sheriff’s Office has been sending deputies to fill the spots. The council is not planning to find a new marshal until at least early January.












Bunker Hill council members asked to resign due to criminal history
Resignation of town's entire police force puts Bunker Hill in national spotlight
Carson Gerber  
Kokomo Tribune
Dec 19, 2016 

BUNKER HILL - A former president of the Bunker Hill Town Council called for the resignation of two current council members Monday over concerns that their criminal history or association with felons made them biased against the town's police department.

Robert Cox made a formal request for the resignation of Louis Nino and Carl Wade on Monday evening during a special meeting of the council.

The meeting was set to discuss hiring a new town marshal after the former marshal and his four volunteer deputies all resigned last week, leaving the town without a police department.

The resignations stemmed from allegations that the council mismanaged the department and asked them to perform illegal and unethical actions.

During the public-comment period of the meeting, Cox asked Nino and Wade to resign due to "criminal arrest either personally or directly of a current spouse."

According to court documents, Nino was arrested in February 2015 on misdemeanor charges of intimidation and theft, and entered into a pre-trial diversion contract in September 2015. The charges were dismissed in September 2016.

Wade's wife, Patricia, was found guilty of stealing over $53,000 in poor-relief funds from Pipe Creek Township in Miami County.

Patricia Wade was sentenced to two years of in-home detention and two years of probation. She was also sentenced to two years probation in the theft of life insurance claims. 

Cox said those charges warranted resignations from Nino and Wade.

"These council members have suffered direct arrest and/or felony convictions in the community," he said. "This is directly putting the safety and security of citizens in Bunker Hill at risk due to bias opinions of law enforcement."

Neither Nino or Wade responded to Cox during the meeting.

Nino, who was appointed to the council earlier this year by the Miami County Democratic party, said in an interview after the meeting, however, that he had no intention of resigning his seat on the council.

"That will happen when there's a real Santa Claus," he said "I'm not a chicken ... I'm not going to sit here and take a pop-shot. What he said is true. I'm not denying that, nor do I want to."

"I'm not a politician or perfect person ... but I want to make sure we do something here in Bunker Hill," Nino added. "If I'm wrong, let the court decide, not the court of public opinion."

Nino also defended Wade, who left the meeting immediately after it adjourned and was not available for comment.

"It's unfair for Carl to get something shot at him" he said. "Carl didn't get convicted of anything. In America, we give people a second chance."

The call for Nino and Wade to step down comes after the resignation of the town's entire police force last week drew national media attention from news outlets such as the Washington Post, BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.

Bunker Hill Clerk Treasurer Andrea Newnum said that media attention has put the town in the crosshairs of disgruntled people from around the country expressing fierce opposition to the town council.

She said the town received around 100 emails and countless phone calls last week from people threatening harm to council members and their families.

"It was awful," Newnum said. "The calls were absolutely disgusting."

The threats became so intense, in fact, that she ended up calling the Federal Bureau of Investigations to inform them the town had become a target of threats and intimidation. 

"I just wanted them to be aware in case something happened, like our computers all get hacked," Newnum said. "I wanted to make them aware that this is going on, and it needs to stop. It's not right."

She said FBI officials have yet to inform her of any actions they might take.

Now, the council is moving forward with hiring a new marshal.

Council President Brock Speer said no one has applied for the position of interim town marshal. Newnum said, however, that at least 50 people have applied for the permanent, part-time position of marshal. Those applications have come from as far away as Kentucky and Ohio, she said.

Speer said the council has also approved a paid, part-time position for a police deputy. Previously, all deputy positions had been unpaid volunteers.

"We will act as quickly as we possibly can on getting a new marshal in here so we have our police department back," he said.

The council scheduled an executive session to go over applications for a new marshal for 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2

Speer noted that the locks at the police department have been changed, and officers' guns have all been returned to the agencies from which they were borrowed.

He also said he has contacted the Indiana State Police about how to handle pieces of evidence related to criminal investigations that are currently being housed at the police department.

While the town waits to re-establish a police department, the Miami County Sheriff's Department has been patrolling the town and responding to calls.

Sheriff Tim Miller said there have been no noticeable increases to calls since the town's officers resigned, and the extra duty hasn't been a burden on county deputies. 












Whole police force refuses to act unethically, then quits
December 18, 2016 
Michael F. Haverluck 
OneNewsNow.com

Refusing to “do illegal, unethical and immoral things,” while on duty, the entire police force in the small town of Bunker Hill, Indiana, quit their jobs last week.

Blaming major differences and the poor communication that they had with administrators within the town council, officers serving with the Bunker Hill Police Department also pointed to a major shortage in gear – and requests made by officials to act illegally, unethically and immorally while performing their duty – as reasons for leaving.

“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Bunker Hill Town Marshal Michael Thomison, who had served the community for four years, told WXIN-TV. “They would not communicate with us or the officers, and they kept scaling back.”

Not in the call of duty …
As they tuned in their badges, all of the police officers stressed that they had been ordered to conduct their jobs in ways that compromised both their integrity as law enforcement officers and as private citizens.

“When each of the officers tendered their letters of resignation, they all noted the ‘illegal, unethical, and immoral things’ they were asked to do,” TheBlaze reported. “The cops cited examples, such as being asked to run background checks on their town councilors to determine their criminal history – a request the officers said led to threats if they weren’t acted upon.”

Safety issues that put the officers’ lives in peril were also mentioned, such as having to share just one set of body armor between them so that they were left vulnerable during potentially dangerous encounters, including serving warrants and making arrests.

“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,” Thomison explained. “I told them we have to provide this – there is an [Indiana] code that explains that and says that the town has to provide that body armor.”

Debilitating discrimination
Above and beyond the aforementioned complaints, the treatment that Thomison received due to an illness was the final turning point.

“Last year, he was diagnosed with cancer, but when he was ready to return to work in May, the town would only allow him to return on a part-time basis,” TheBlaze’s Goins-Phillips divulged.

The disgruntled officer is now preparing to sue the Bunker Hill town councilors over the matter.

“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 added.

Standing together
The former town marshal explained that all of the other officers on the town’s police force quit their jobs, as well – not because they wanted to, but because they believed it was the right thing for them to do.

As a result of all of its law enforcement officers stepping down, Bunker Hill has had to utilize neighboring police officers to fill in while new officers are being sought to fill the void.

Still in shock
When asked about the group resignation, Town Council President Brock Speer expressed to Fox News that everyone quitting at the same time “blindsided” him.

But despite their surprise and the bind that the officer’s cumulative resignation put them in, members of the Bunker Hill Town Council accepted the letters with little to no comment given anyone on the force.

Unpopular all around
Bunker Hill’s administrators have gotten under the skin of many people within the small town -- besides the police force.

“Citing personal reasons, Council Vice President Jim Panther submitted his resignation from the board, which will take effect at the end of the year,” Goins-Phillips informed. “[A]nd Bunker Hill Building Commissioner Bill Gornto’s resignation leaves the town without a building department.”

Gornto’s resignation letter explained that members of the town council made his work situation intolerable.

“Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job,” Gornto wrote. “This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department.”

Until new police officers are recruited to take the place of the resigned police force, Bunker Hill got the assurance of Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller that his deputies will keep the plagued town safe as it searches for a new town marshal.












Bunker Hill council denies allegations of mismanagement, illegal requests
Board moving to hire new marshal after police force resigns
Carson Gerber  Dec 16, 2016 
Kokomo Tribune

BUNKER HILL – The Bunker Hill Town Council is denying allegations that it mismanaged the police department and asked the former town marshal and reserve deputies to perform illegal and unethical actions.

Former Marshal Michael Thomison and his four volunteer reserve deputies all resigned Monday evening, leaving the town without a police department.

Thomison alleged the town board had asked him to be involved in “illegal, unethical, and immoral things over time,” including requests for criminal background checks on past and present board members and asking for confidential information.

He said he was threatened with a violation of refusing a direct order if he didn’t comply with board members’ requests.

Thomison also alleged the town council was attempting to dismantle the police department, including not providing body armor to officers as required by state code and cutting back on the number of reserve deputies in the department.

Furthermore, Thomison said, the council cut his full-time position down to 29.5 hours earlier this year so the town would not have to provide him with health insurance because he was told his cancer treatments were costing the town too much money.

“Since this has occurred I have had no other choice to find employment that would compensate for the lost wages and benefits,” Thomison said in his resignation letter.

“The community will suffer, but I can’t continue to stay when the support’s not there for the department or the reserves,” he said in an interview with the Kokomo Tribune. “I’m not mad at the community. I like the people. I like helping out where I can.”

In a statement, the council said most of the disagreements between board members and Thomison stemmed from a lack of available funding to invest in the police department. The council denied that it failed to provide body armor for the marshal or reserve deputies.

Board members said they have made cuts to the department over the last few years, but all those decisions were based solely on financial considerations and a lack of funding.

“Bunker Hill is diligently working to solve this problem for the coming year,” the council said. “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.”

The board is now moving forward with hiring a new marshal and reserve deputies. A special meeting has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday to begin the process.

In the meantime, Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said county deputies will patrol the town and respond to calls to ensure residents are protected until a new marshal is hired.

Council members said they were “shocked” by the resignation of the police department, but said they thanked officers for their service to the town.

“It has never been the goal to dismantle or otherwise endanger the town police department or officers,” the council said. “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.”












Resignation Of Entire Police Force Leaves Indiana Town In Turmoil
Former employees accuse the town of “idiotic” decisions and “sketchy and immoral things.”
Huffington Post
David Lohr  - Senior Crime Reporter, The Huffington Post
December 16, 2016 - 3:00PM







An entire police force in a central Indiana town resigned this week after citing a number of troublesome alleged dealings with town officials.

Former Bunker Hill Town Marshal Michael Thomison, 43, told The Huffington Post that the resignations he and his four reserve officers handed in on Monday were prompted by the beleaguered town council, which he says has been responsible for repeated bad decisions and “sketchy and immoral things.”

“We’re talking about things that are completely unethical,” Thomison said. “They would request we perform unnecessary criminal background checks and turn over confidential information about individuals.”

In a statement to HuffPost, the town of Bunker Hill acknowledged disagreements with the police department but denied any wrongdoing.

“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,” its statement read.
The mass departure of the police force comes less than a month after two other officers submitted letters of resignation. The move has left the town of roughly 1,000 residents, 60 miles north of Indianapolis, without local police services.

Thomison, a four-year veteran of the town’s police force, claims council members are “affiliated with convicted criminals” and use their positions for “their own personal agendas.”

“You have a council member who’s been arrested for theft and intimidation; a council member whose spouse was convicted of stealing thousands of dollars when she was trustee; and you have a council member whose parents have prior drug arrests,” he told HuffPost in a phone conversation. “They hold illegal closed-door meetings and fail to inform the public of proposed changes.”

Andrea Newnum, of the Bunker Hill Clerk Treasurer’s Office, would not address Thomison’s accusations.

The town council had “no further comment at this time,” she told HuffPost.

According to the Kokomo Tribune, former Bunker Hill Councilman Robert Cox raised similar issues when he filed a lawsuit against the current town council in August. The lawsuit alleges that members held an illegal meeting in July and changed an existing ordnance so that only one police officer would be permitted to be on duty at a time. 

The lawsuit alleges that the public was not given notice of the meeting and that the council routinely violates the state’s open door laws.

In an email to the Tribune, Cox wrote: “The town council has started to dismantle our local police department by limiting patrol areas and cutting the force staffing hours. This is a huge threat to officer safety.”

Prior to filing the lawsuit, Cox, while still in office, butted heads with the clerk-treasurer when she said the town was too broke to pay $247 for ammunition that the town’s police department needed to complete its annual certification tests. Without the certification, none of the officers would legally be allowed to carry firearms.

“If this town can’t pay $247 to keep officers on the street, we might as well close up shop now, because we’re done,” Cox said at a council meeting, according to the Indiana Economic Digest. “There’s no functioning any longer if we can’t afford a $247 bill.”

Several months after that meeting, former Bunker Hill Clerk-Treasurer Sara Betzner was reportedly ordered to reimburse the town for $24,600 after a state audit found she had been mismanaging the town’s finances and had failed to specify why she withdrew $5,600 from the town’s bank accounts. Three town employees were also ordered to reimburse the town for $1,800 that Betzner had overpaid them.

The audit that led to Betzner’s downfall also revealed missing funds in accounts controlled by the Bunker Hill Town Clerk’s Office. After a state police investigation, Carenna Byers, the former clerk for the Bunker Hill Town Court, was reportedly accused of stealing over $14,000 in traffic ticket money. The disposition of Byers’ case remains unclear.

Money woes apparently persist in the town, as Thomison, who was the only paid officer on the force, told HuffPost that the council had recently violated his three-year contract when they reduced him to 33 hours a week after he was diagnosed with cancer.

“They said my insurance was costing them $1,700 a month and they could no longer afford to pay it,” he said. “I told them I’d already met my deductible and I said, ‘Can I pay the insurance cost to the town so I can keep it?’ They said, ‘No.’ Here I was, offering to work for free, just to pay for the insurance for myself, my wife and our three kids.”

The former marshal said it felt like they had poured salt in the wound when, at that same meeting, the board agreed to spend $14,000 on a new lawn mower.

“They wouldn’t do anything to work with me, yet they replaced a mower that was in working order and didn’t even need replaced,” Thomison said.

Troy Gornto, the former chief deputy who was among those who resigned Monday, described other issues with the board, including its alleged refusal to use funds secured by the police department to replace shoddy and outdated body armor.

“That was a huge safety issue,” Gornto told HuffPost. “We had money set aside for that, and they refused to replace the body armor.”

Gornto also claims the board refused to address concerns about the security of sensitive files and police evidence.

“The police department is far from secure,” he said. “The front windows are Plexiglas. It would take very minimal effort for anyone to push them in and get inside. That’s a huge security issue, and they are not at all concerned about it.”

Gornto said he is dumbfounded by the council members’ treatment of the police force, since the force has cost the town very little money.

“Only one officer was paid, and the reserves didn’t cost them any money besides uniforms and some supplies,” he said. “We had to supply our own weapons and duty belts. Just my duty belt and the equipment on it cost me $2,000.”

Gornto’s father, Bill, resigned from his position as building commissioner on Monday, citing a number of issues with the council.

“It is impossible to work with people that don’t understand how politics and government work,” Bill Gornto, 82, told HuffPost. “They’ve gone through numerous attorneys in recent years because the attorney will say, ‘You can’t do this, because this is what the law says,’ and they’ll do it anyway. So, the lawyers just quit and leave.”

The town’s current attorney, Brandon Rush, did not respond to a request for comment.

Bill Gornto said one of his duties as building commissioner was to ensure that unsafe buildings in the community were torn down. He claims he was unable to perform this duty after the board allegedly misappropriated half the funds dedicated to it.

“We had money in the State of Indiana Unsafe Building Fund for bad buildings,” he said. “It’s a non-diverting fund. In January, I went in to see what the balance was, and it was zero.”

“I asked them where the $10,000 went that was there at the end of December, and they said they took it,” he went on. “I told them they couldn’t do that and they had to put it back. They only ended up putting half of it back. Who knows where the rest went.”

A six-year employee of the town, Bill Gornto said he has been vocal at meetings but that many of his comments cannot be found in records of the discussions.

“During a recent meeting, they decided the police department was no longer allowed to go out of the town’s corporate limits,” he said ― in other words, the area where police would be allowed to patrol was reduced. “I presented them with a few scenarios which might make that necessary, and they agreed with me. However, when I got a copy of the minutes, none of that was there. When I asked why, they said it was too much to write down and they only put down what they find important.”

“And, just to show how idiotic their decisions are, I asked at the next meeting why members of the police department were there,” he went on. “They asked me what I meant, and I said, ‘Well, you said they’re not allowed out of the corporate limits, and yet this building we’re sitting in right now is not in the corporate limits.’ They didn’t even know that. That didn’t make it into the minutes, either.”

Bill Gornto also said he believes council members were intentionally trying to dismantle the police force so they could rebuild it with officers of their choosing.

“Last month, one member of the council filed two written complaints against two officers,” he said. “One was because an officer had stopped him to ask him to turn his lights on and, when he did so, approached the vehicle with his hand on his pistol. The other complaint was against an officer who, nine months prior, pulled over his wife. He said that officer approached her in an ‘aggressive manner.’ He wanted the first officer suspended a week, and the marshal suspended a month without pay, and the second fired ― all for doing what they’re trained to do.”

In its statement to HuffPost, the town of Bunker Hill said it “has never been the goal to dismantle or otherwise endanger the town police department or officers.” 

t remains unclear how soon the town will replace its officers, or how many it will hire. The town council said little when it received the mass resignations on Monday, according to the Pharos-Tribune.

“We’re a little blindsided by everyone resigning, but it is what it is,” Council President Brock Speer said.

Tim Miller, sheriff of Miami County, has agreed to temporarily patrol the area.

“It’s an unfortunate situation that the town finds itself in,” Miller told the Pharos-Tribune. “But we’re going to take care of citizens’ needs in the interim. We will ensure they will have law enforcement present for the needs of the town.”

Thomison, whose legal bills are continuing to pile up, said he has not decided whether he will file a lawsuit against the town.

“The people are good people,” he told HuffPost. “There’s just some bad people running the town who don’t value anyone.”

Troy Gornto has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help Thomison offset his medical expenses. As of Friday, $1,200 has been raised.

Bill Gornto said he is hoping that national media attention might bring about change in Bunker Hill.

“This is small-town politics in all its glory,” he said. “But usually it doesn’t get out to where you have outlets like HuffPost coming in and asking questions.”














Indiana Town's Entire Police Force Quits in Protest of 'Immoral Things'
by ERIK ORTIZ
NBC News
December 15, 2016


Bunker Hill, Indiana, has fewer than 900 residents, boasts one of the state's oldest operating drag strips, and is the hometown of radio and TV talk show host Tavis Smiley.

But at the moment, it doesn't have a police force.

The town marshal and four reserve deputies turned in their badges this week in a show of protest against officials in the working-class community about 75 miles north of Indianapolis. Their resignation letter accused leaders of being engaged in "illegal, unethical, and immoral things."

"This was our last effort to make a statement," former Marshal Michael Thomison told NBC News on Thursday.

The loss of the force, which comes after two other reserve deputies resigned in November, has drawn attention because of such an extreme action, which now leaves officials scrambling for new recruits.

In a statement Wednesday night, officials disputed the deputies' assertions that something nefarious was being done by the government, and chalked it up to "disagreements" in policy making.

"The resignation of the entire police force has come as a shock to the council," the statement said. "It has never been the goal to dismantle or otherwise endanger the town police department or officers."

Thomison, who joined the force in 2012 and became marshal in 2013, said the police and government relationship deteriorated as new elected leaders took control. He said some board members would ask him to conduct criminal background checks on other ones, which he told them was inappropriate.

He also alleged on at least two occasions, deputies who pulled over a council member or a council member's wife were retaliated against.

In addition, deputies were rankled by a lack of adequate supplies and skimpy funding for the force, which has volunteer members who do not receive benefits. Thomison was the only paid full-time member.

The deputies had to share a single bulletproof vest and were discouraged from using both of the town's two cruisers in order to save on gas, Thomison added.

While Bunker Hill is a small town, he said, dealing mainly with domestic and traffic calls, the force has seen major incidents, including a bank robbery in 2009 and even a homicide in 2011.

Thomison said he was upset after he returned earlier this year following a cancer diagnosis, only to be told to work part-time because his insurance was costing the town "too much money." He started part-time in October.

He said he tried to work with town officials over the department's grievances, but there was no reply.

But town officials in their statement denied failing to provide body armor for the force.

"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 statement said.

Officials did not dispute that there were "a number of cuts to the police department over the last few years. ... 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."

Amid the fallout, officials said they are in the process of hiring new officers. A request for further comment to the Bunker Hill council president was not immediately returned Thursday.

County and state police say they will continue covering the community, which the departments have done previously.

But Thomison said he's sorry to have to give up a job in which he could help others. The last call he took, he said, was for a potential suicide.

"We all loved the town, the people, the community," Thomison said. "But it was one of those things that it was best to step down." 












SHOCK: Entire Police Force Resigns After Learning City Council Wanted Illegal Favors
December 15, 2016
Conservative Tribune

When town authorities in Bunker Hill, Indiana, began what police said was a campaign of corruption and intimidation, they found themselves without a police department.

According to WXIN-TV, the entire police force handed in its resignation after cutbacks and alleged impropriety occurred in the small city of less than 1,000 residents, just 60 miles north of Indianapolis.

“We have had issues with the town board and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Bunker Hill Town Marshal Michael Thomison told WXIN. “They would not communicate with us or the officers and they kept scaling back.”

That wasn’t all, though.

In their resignation letter, Thomison and the four police officers said they were forced to “do illegal, unethical and immoral things.” These included running background checks on other town councilors, the officers allegedly having been threatened when they refused.

They also said the cutbacks had jeopardized their safety.

“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 (Indiana law) that explains that and says that the town has to provide that body armor,” Thomison told the Indianapolis Star.

“The council admits that it had made a number of cuts to the police department over the last few years,” the town of Bunker Hill said in a statement. “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,” town leaders added. “Over the last few years, the Council has made attempts to find additional money for the department.”













A small Indiana town doesn’t have a police force because all its officers just quit
The Washington Post
By Travis M. Andrews
December 15 at 6:52 AM
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/12/15/a-small-indiana-town-doesnt-have-a-police-force-because-all-its-officers-just-quit/?utm_term=.4efe7b73463c

The sign, posted on the glass window of the police department, reads: “The Town is currently without the Police Department. In the case of an emergency, please call 911.”

It seems like a prop from a dystopian film portraying a post-apocalyptic world, but it isn’t. It’s an actual sign from a small town in Indiana.

Bunker Hill, Ind., is home to about 900 residents.

Every one of these residents was left without a police department when the town marshal and four reserve deputies walked off the job in protest Monday, the Associated Press reported.

“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Bunker Hill town marshal Michael Thomison told WXIN.

In a statement released Wednesday and obtained by WTTV, the Bunker Hill Town Council expressed surprise.

“The resignation of the entire police force has come as a shock to the council,” it read. “It has never been the goal to dismantle or otherwise endanger the town police department or officers.”

Some of their grievances were of a familiar variety — complaints about financial cuts to the department.

“They would not communicate with us or the officers, and they kept scaling back,” said Thomison, a four-year member of the force.

He later told BuzzFeed News: “We can’t make this up. They were just not receptive to having a police department.”

The cuts, the officers alleged, forced every officer in the department to share a single set of body armor — a lack of sufficient resources that further endangered them.

“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,” Thomison told WXIN. “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.”

The town council, though, denied leaving the force with only one set of armor. In the statement, it wrote:
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.

Less familiar were the officers’ assertions, written in their resignation letter, that the council asked them to “do illegal, unethical, and immoral things.”

Among these were allegedly being asked by town councilors to secretly run background checks on one another. They claimed the councilors would threaten them — and sometimes follow through on these threats.

“None of us wanted to quit,” Joshua Graham, one of the reserve officers who resigned, told BuzzFeed News. “They just basically did whatever they wanted to do, whether it’s by the law or not.”












Town left without police department after officers resign
New York Post
By Associated Press 
December 15, 2016 | 2:30am 

BUNKER HILL, Ind. — Bunker Hill no longer has a police department after the town marshal and four reserve deputies resigned over complaints about mismanagement and unethical requests from the town council.

Town Marshal Michael Thomison submitted his letter of resignation, along with resignation letters from his four unpaid deputies, during the regular meeting of the town board Monday evening, the Kokomo Tribune reported. The local building commissioner also resigned, citing similar complaints.

Thomison alleged in his letter that the town board asked him to be involved in illegal, immoral and unethical actions, including requesting confidential information and asking him to conduct criminal background checks on other board members. No details were provided about who allegedly made such requests or when they were made.

“I have had to educate them on the things they were asking from me, and explained that I would not take part in any of these actions,” Thomison said.

Council President Brock Speer said the council was “blindsided” by the resignations, but council members accepted the resignations with little comment. Citing personal reasons, Council Vice President Jim Panther also submitted his resignation from the board, which will take effect at the end of the year.

Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said county deputies will ensure residents are protected until a new marshal is hired. Deputies will patrol the town and respond to calls.

Bunker Hill Building Commissioner Bill Gornto’s resignation leaves the town without a building department.

“Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department.”












Indiana Town’s Entire Police Force Resigns
Breitbart News
Katherine Rodriguez
December 14, 2016


An entire Indiana town is without a police force after every single officer resigned.

Officers are blaming the Bunker Hill Town Council for “serving their own agenda” before considering the needs of the town’s officers, WXIN reports. “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 for four years, until Monday night, when he and four other officers handed over resignation letters to the council.

“They would not communicate with us or the officers and they kept scaling back,” said Thomison.

The officers said in their resignation letters that council members asked them to do “illegal, unethical, and immoral things,” such as running background checks on other town councilors to find their criminal history.

Officers claim that when they said no, they were threatened. They also brought up the issue of having to share one set of body armor, causing a safety issue for officers who had to make arrests and serve warrants.

Thomison said the department would only allow him to work part-time when he returned from a leave of absence due to cancer because it cost the town too much money. “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,” said Thomison, who plans to sue the town.

Thomison and the other officers did not want to step down, but felt they had to.

Meanwhile, the town is using outside police officers while searching for their replacements.

Town Council President Brock Speer says the town will release a statement soon.

Other towns are also dealing with a shortage of police officers. The Dallas Police Department in Texas, for example, has had 99 officers either quit or retire since October 1. The town of Georgiana, Alabama, also lost its police force in October after its police chief and the other eight officers in the town walked off the job in a dispute with the mayor’s office.












Mass resignations leave Indiana town without any police
Published December 14, 2016  
FoxNews.com


It might be a bit easier to avoid a traffic ticket in Bunker Hill, Indiana, these days.

The entire police force patrolling the small town resigned en masse Monday night, citing a lack of communication, insufficient gear and requests to “do illegal, unethical and immoral things,” Fox 59 reported.

“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 Michael Thomison, who served as Bunker Hill Town Marshal for four years.

Thomison and four reserve deputies – the full force – submitted their letters of resignation to the town council, listing a host of issues including being tasked by council members with running background checks on adversaries. The cops said if they declined, they were threatened.

Officers were also allegedly forced to share one set of body armor.

“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,” Thomison said.

Council President Brock Speer said the council was “blindsided” by the resignations, but council members accepted the resignations with little comment.

Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said county deputies will ensure residents are protected until a new marshal is hired. Deputies will patrol the town and respond to calls.

But Bunker Hill leaders are also battling other key resignations.

Citing personal reasons, Council Vice President Jim Panther submitted his resignation from the board, which will take effect at the end of the year, and Bunker Hill Building Commissioner Bill Gornto's resignation leaves the town without a building department.

“Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job,” Gornto wrote in his resignation letter. “This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department.”

Bunker Hill, located about 75 miles north of Indianapolis in Miami County, had a population of 888, according to the 2010 Census.













Indiana town's entire police force resigns in protest
Tribune news 
December 14, 2016 - 10:18AM

Bunker Hill, Indiana, no longer has a police department after the town marshal and four reserve deputies resigned over complaints about mismanagement and unethical requests from the town council.

Town Marshal Michael Thomison submitted his letter of resignation, along with resignation letters from his four unpaid deputies, during the regular meeting of the town board Monday evening, the Kokomo Tribune reported. The local building commissioner also resigned, citing similar complaints.

Thomison alleged in his letter that the town board asked him to be involved in illegal, immoral and unethical actions, including requesting confidential information and asking him to conduct criminal background checks on other board members. No details were provided about who allegedly made such requests or when they were made.

"I have had to educate them on the things they were asking from me, and explained that I would not take part in any of these actions," Thomison said.

Council President Brock Speer said the council was "blindsided" by the resignations, but council members accepted the resignations with little comment. Citing personal reasons, Council Vice President Jim Panther also submitted his resignation from the board, which will take effect at the end of the year.

Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said county deputies will ensure residents are protected until a new marshal is hired. Deputies will patrol the town and responding to calls.

Bunker Hill Building Commissioner Bill Gornto's resignation leaves the town without a building department.

"Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job," he wrote in his resignation letter. "This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department."













Indiana town's entire police force quits
Alexis McAdams
Fox59 
December 14, 2016 - 3:34 p.m. EST 



BUNKER HILL, Ind. – An entire Indiana town has no police officers after every single one walked off the job. The officers blame the Bunker Hill Town Council for the situation.

“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 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, Fox59 reports.

“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.

Indianapolis police reach out in social services sweep
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,” said Thomison.

On top of all that, Thomison says his resignation was personal. He was diagnosed with cancer last year, but when he was ready to go back to work in May, Thomison says 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,” said Thomison.

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,” said Thomison.

Town Council President Brock Speer says they will release a statement in the near future.

This story originally appeared at Fox59.com.












Indiana community's entire police force quits, cites city mismanagement
By Carson Gerber 
Rockwall Herald Banner
Updated - Dec 13, 2016  

BUNKER HILL, Ind. — A central Indiana community has been left without a police department after the town marshal and four reserve deputies all resigned over complaints that the town council mismanaged the department, even asking officers to break the law.

Town Marshal Michael Thomison submitted letters of resignation for himself and his four reserve, unpaid deputies Monday during the regular meeting of the town board.

Though the town has fewer than 900 residents living 60 miles north of Indianapolis, Bunker Hill is adjacent to Grissom Air Reserve Base and is home to the Miami Correctional Facility, a state prison. 

In his letter, Thomison claims the town board asked him to “be involved in illegal, unethical and immoral things over time,” including asking him to conduct criminal background checks on other board members and requesting confidential information.

“I have had to educate them on the things they were asking from me and explained that I would not take part in any of these actions,” he said.

Thomison said the board also voted to reduce his hours to part time so the town would not be required to provide health insurance after he was diagnosed with cancer.

In an interview with the Kokomo, Indiana Tribune, Thomison also cited concerns over the town council’s decision to reduce the police department from nine reserve deputies to just four, and limit their patrol area.

“The town has refused to educate themselves on how to run a town, they continue to carry out their personal agendas to either run off the police department or make it so that it is impossible to work with or for them,” he said.

Council members accepted the resignations Monday with little comment.

“We’re a little blindsided by everyone resigning, but it is what it is,” said Council President Brock Speer.

Councilman Luis Nino was absent from the meeting during the resignations, but showed up 45 minutes after the meeting had started.

After he was informed the town no longer had a police department, Nino only responded “I appreciate the update.”

Thomison, who was hired in 2013 as the marshal, told the Tribune he didn’t want to leave the department, “but the longer I stay there, the harder it is to get anything done. It’s time to step away and do something else.”

“The community will suffer, but I can’t continue to stay there when the support’s not there for the department or the reserve deputies,” he said.

The town council is now left scrambling to replace the marshal and reserve deputies, who are the only law enforcement officers permitted to enforce Bunker Hill ordinances.

In the meantime, Miami County, Indiana, Sheriff Tim Miller said county deputies will patrol the town and respond to calls to ensure residents are protected until a new marshal is hired.

“At the end of the day, it’s the public that’s going to suffer, not the town board,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that the town finds itself in. But we’re going to take care of citizens’ needs in the interim. We will ensure they will have law enforcement present for the needs of the town.”

Beyond the police department, the town also was left without a building department Monday evening after Building Commissioner Bill Gornto submitted his resignation over complaints similar to the marshal.

“Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department.”

Council Vice President Jim Panther also submitted his resignation from the board effective at the end of the year. He cited personal reasons for his decision to step down from the position.













Bunker Hill responds after town’s entire police force quits
FOX 59
Posted: December 13, 2016 - 5:33PM
Updated: : December 13, 2016 - 10:05PM
Alexis McAdams

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An entire Indiana town has no police officers after every single one walked off the job. The officers blame the Bunker Hill Town Council for the situation.

“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 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,” said Thomison.

On top of all that, Thomison says his resignation was personal. He was diagnosed with cancer last year, but when he was ready to go back to work in May, Thomison says 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,” said Thomison.

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,” said Thomison.

The Town of Bunker 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.












Bunker Hill left without police department after officers' resignations
Miami County Sheriff's Department to provide protection until town hires new marshal
Kokomo Tribune
Carson Gerber  
Dec 12, 2016 

BUNKER HILL – Bunker Hill was left without a police department Monday evening after the town marshal and four reserve deputies all resigned over complaints the Bunker Hill Town Council mismanaged the department and asked officers to perform illegal actions.

Town Marshal Michael Thomison submitted his letter of resignation, along with resignation letters from his four reserve, unpaid deputies, during the regular meeting of the town board.

In his letter, Thomison alleged the town board asked him to “be involved in illegal, unethical and immoral things over time,” including asking him to conduct criminal background checks on other board members and requesting confidential information.

“I have had to educate them on the things they were asking from me and explained that I would not take part in any of these actions,” he said.

Thomison said the board also voted to reduce his hours to part time so the town would not be required to provide health insurance after he was diagnosed with cancer.

In an interview with the Kokomo Tribune, Thomison also cited concerns over the town council’s decision to reduce the police department from nine reserve deputies to just four, and limit their patrol area.

“The town has refused to educate themselves on how to run a town, they continue to carry out their personal agendas to either run off the police department or make it so that it is impossible to work with or for them,” he said.

Council members accepted the resignations Monday with little comment.

“We’re a little blindsided by everyone resigning, but it is what it is,” said Council President Brock Speer.

Councilman Luis Nino was absent from the meeting during the resignations, but showed up 45 minutes after the meeting had started.

After he was informed the town no longer had a police department, Nino only responded “I appreciate the update.”

Thomison, who was hired in 2013 as the marshal, told the Tribune he didn’t want to leave the department, “but the longer I stay there, the harder it is to get anything done. It’s time to step away and do something else.”

“The community will suffer, but I can’t continue to stay there when the support’s not there for the department or the reserve deputies,” he said.

The town council is now left scrambling to replace the marshal and reserve deputies, who are the only law enforcement officers permitted to enforce Bunker Hill ordinances.

The board scheduled a special meeting for 5 p.m. Monday to begin the process of hiring a new marshal.

In the meantime, Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said county deputies will patrol the town and respond to calls to ensure residents are protected until a new marshal is hired.

“At the end of the day, it’s the public that’s going to suffer, not the town board,” he said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that the town finds itself in. But we’re going to take care of citizens’ needs in the interim. We will ensure they will have law enforcement present for the needs of the town.”

Beyond the police department, the town also was left without a building department Monday evening after Building Commissioner Bill Gornto submitted his resignation over complaints similar to the marshal.

“Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job,” he wrote in his resignation letter. “This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department.”

Council Vice President Jim Panther also submitted his resignation from the board effective at the end of the year. He cited personal reasons for his decision to step down from the position.