Southport Matters » Community, Headline, News, Public Safety, Southport » Safety Board Walks Out in Protest: Mayor Ignores Concerns of Illegal Activities

Safety Board Walks Out in Protest: Mayor Ignores Concerns of Illegal Activities

Southport’s Director of Public Safety, Kevin Bandy and fellow Board member, Andrew Harrison walked out of the monthly Safety Board meeting in protest after the Mayor, Jesse Testruth and Chief of Police, Randall Ellison failed to curtail alleged illegal activities by certain Southport police department employees.

At the forefront of the protest are concerns of legality in recent of police activities by Southport Assistant Chief, William “Wild Bill” Bick.  Bandy calmly explained his concerns but pushback from Ellison and Testruth led to heated discussions regarding Indiana requirements for law enforcement officers, alleged felony activities and civil rights violations.

Citizens at the Saturday board meeting called into question the required certifications of both Ellison and Bick.  “I don’t know where my credentials are today” said Ellison when asked; “but I’ll start looking first thing Monday morning”.  “Bill should begin his final requirement next week” he continued. Those in the audience were left to conclude that Bick had been acting without certification for months.

Chief Ellison described to Bandy and Harrison that and it appears that he hasn’t been since he was first hired by the department [120512 SoBPS (Bick's lack of certification)].  Ellison went further, admitting that Bick has been using police powers, police radio and marked vehicles along with his Southport badge to stop unwary citizens and has even detained them using police powers authorized by Ellison for months.   Some unsuspecting victims were taken away in a County jail van.  Southport resident, Charles “Buddy” Lynch had also complained to Bick that his arrests were inappropriate and heavy handed.  Bick told him to “get back into your house or I’ll arrest you too”.

Harrison expressed his frustrations that earlier letters from the Safety Board to both Ellison and Testruth were ignored while the questionable activities continued.  “We [the Safety Board] are truly concerned that these actions [that appear to be an impersonation of a police officer] are not only a criminal violation but could well be construed as civil rights violations” explained Harrison.  “We brought them to Chief Ellison and he dismissed them”.

The Southport Police Department was also in the news in 2009 when then Mayor, Robin Thoman shook up the department firing Asst. Chief, Mark Myers for failure to enforce policies, insubordination and conduct injurious to public peace or welfare.  A disciplinary board found that Myers had failed to the follow the established chain of command, exhibited conduct unbecoming of an officer and had violated departmental rules of conduct.  Myers was demoted and suspended without pay.  Chief Duane Burgess resigned shortly thereafter describing the need for more time to attend to personal affairs.  Thoman chose Steve Davis as the next Chief of Police from three candidates selected by a citizen search committee that reviewed over thirty qualified applicants.

Testruth described the recent Board request as “too heavy handed”.  “You [Public Safety Director] can’t tell the Chief what to do.  You need to work with him” said Testruth.  Harrison explained that “condoning illegal activities by the Assistant Chief is not what [he] and Bandy had signed up for”.  “The checks and balances provided by the Public Safety Board are in place to protect the City, its citizens and the general public” said Harrison.

Complicating matters was Testruth’s decision to eliminate the Board of Public Safety soon after learning of Harrisons and Bandy’s concerns.  “There’s too much bickering going on” Testruth stated.  “I’m considering combining the Safety Board with the Board of Public Works.” 

That seemed to be the last straw for Harrison and Bandy who repeated their concerns that the Safety Board exists for just these matters.  “We volunteer our time and professional talent for the benefit of the City and our intentions are only to help the community we care so much about” said Bandy before he left.   Harrison explained afterward. “We expect the Chief to adhere the laws of Indiana and the City of Southport and don’t want to see illegal activities occur in our own police department.  We thought the Mayor would back us up on this”.

I’m surprised to learn that things have broken down so quickly in the department” described former mayor, Robin Thoman.  “Chief Davis had accomplished so much during his time as Chief of Police.  Davis left the city with a stable, well trained and fully staffed department.  It’s sad to see the moral so low among such good officers” said Thoman.  “That Ellison knew of these improprieties and chose to ignore them is inconceivable”.

Department Chaplain, Billy McKinney had also spoken to Mayor Testruth but “the mayor just wouldn’t listen” said McKinney.  “You can’t fire half of the force and expect things not to get shook up” he explained.  “I certainly think it’s a bad idea to eliminate the Safety Board.  Why, would you do such a dumb thingI’ll do anything I can to help straighten this mess out”.

The department has only half the original officers when the year began under Ellison’s watch.  “I know we are understaffed, but I got some things in the works” explained Ellison when questioned during the Board meeting.

Soon after joining Testruth’s “Team Southport” in January, Ellison quickly dismissed a number of seasoned officers including lead investigator, Lt. Jeffery Taft and Asst. Chief, Thomas Wright.  The untimely dismissals caused County prosecutors to drop felony charges against Southport suspects when critical testimony by officers was no longer available.  “It’s a black eye for the City when years of investigations results in sustainable charges only to be dismissed or dropped” said Thoman.  “Our neighbors are not going to like the consequences of this department’s short-sighted decisions that embolden hoodlums and local nuisances.  We can’t afford this kind of department management too much longer.  I pray the mayor gets this cleaned up quickly”.

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36 comments on “Safety Board Walks Out in Protest: Mayor Ignores Concerns of Illegal Activities

  1. Ellison knows – OR SHOULD KNOW – that the law was not being followed. He’s the #1 law enforcement officer in Southport and MUST know the law.

    After the alleged illegality was first brought to his attention, he had an immediate obligation to make an adjustment. His refusal to bring the department into compliance is inexcusable.

    Mayor Testruth should remove both Bick and Ellison and find a better candidate for Cheif. Better still, why not have a search committee review applications, interview candidates and provide a recommendation?

    Both Wild Bill and Ellison are not eligible to serve as SoPD officer until they both complete the Indiana requirements.

  2. Bandy and Harrison have to stand their ground to protect the community from bad decisions of Mayor Testroot and Chump Ellison.

    Harrison is correct, the Board exists for just for these kind of checks and balances.

    These guys are volunteering their time for the benefit of the City and don’t want our community to be burdeoned by a missinterpreted alliance between Testroot and Ellison.

    • I have lost track. How many good guys and how many “lost in space” guys?

  3. I believe the turmoil in Southport is part of the larger picture.

    Many of our citizens have lost their mooring! Their thinking and actions are the result of the brouhaha of recent elections from the residential requirement “scandals” to campaign ads that did not put forth a political position–merely provided character assassination.

    When we look at Southport as a microcosm of America, I believe that we can extrapolate a scenario of Disintegration because, and this is a large because, we no longer have a base of creativity and constructiveness in the trenches.

    Is it any wonder that nothing can be accomplished nationally when we do not know what we want locally?

  4. Amazing! Is this the same “Wild Bill Bick” that was fired as Southport Chief of Police some 15 years ago? He is now the Assistant Chief? Wow!

    Does Mr. Testruth know what his job of Mayor is to the City?
    Eliminate the Board of Public Safety for asking serious legal questions of the Mayor and Police Chief, concerning citizens being arrested without the basic proper qualifications to do so?

    If you observe illegal activity by a Southport officer under Chief Ellisons’ watch, and object to illegal actions, you are threatened with being arrested?

    Please post the days “Wild Bill Bick” is working so I can plan ahead and not go out that day/night. It must be some kind of U.S. Marshall kind of management style. Which U.S. Constitution do Southport officers swear to protect and uphold? Chief Ellison’s?

    • Yes Jay, Wild Bill is one in the same as the short-term SoPD Chief under Mayor Tunget. Yes, he was fired while at the ILEA Chief’s School.

      Both Wild Bill and Ellison found out today (from ILEA) that their certifications were not valid to serve as police officers. Both have been placed on “plain clothes” duty according to Mayor Testroot.

      I can’t speak about the US Marshall’s style of management but I can easily describe Ellisons approach. It’s like the Beverly Hillbilly’s. Ellison knew of the illegalities two weeks ago and chose not to do anything. In fact, Ellison left Southport and placed Wild Bill in charge for the duration.

      Lord, help us all and thanks for your comment. please check back often as the story gains legs.

      Robin

  5. Amazing! Who vetted this new administration? David Axlerod and Nancy Pelosi? Mayor Testruth needs to lead Southport or resign. Five months have passed with a Police Department ran by two guys, now walking around in plain clothes, because they are unqualified to wear the Southport uniform. It does leave one to believe that they are a discredit to the Southport Police Department and the community they serve. The Board of Public Safety should be supported by the community and the Mayor, for the oversight they provide over a Chief and Assistant Chief who obviously need oversight for the safety of the community.

  6. This is all very upsetting!!! I am dissapointed in these events. Has the City Council been informed of current events? What does former Mayor Tunget say about this. I believe that she would have a strong opinion of the charecter of former police chief, current Major William “Wild Bill” Bick. I didnt think the new chief was a bad guy, I dont know what to think of this. I can only hope that this gets properly taking care of.

    • Thank you Concerned Citizen for your comment. I’m dissappointed and upset too.

      It appears that some councilors were aware weeks ago and still, Ellison did nothing.

      Mayor Tunget is uncommonly quiet these days. She went off the radar years ago and only sends in her drone husband, Larry for ineffective search and destroy missions.

      I too think Ellison is an OK guy but unfortunately doesn’t have the brain power to power a light bulb. Do you know what the Peter Principle is? He’s obviously been promoted (appointed) to his last level of incompetency.

      Rumors are swirling about FBI and State Police investigations. I don’t know if there is any truth to the rumors as this kind of gossip always shows up with many things associated with police matters.

      As long as Testruth dimisses the Safety Board and his Public Safety Director, nothing will get done. These two (Harrison & Bandy) are in it for the right reasons and care deeply that the law is followed.

  7. It seems as though Mr. “Wild Bill” (in reference to the Southport citizen’s complaints about the arrests) was suggesting that this man did not have rights as a citizen to make a complaint about the things going on in his community. “Get back in your house or I’ll arrest you too”.. Is this the type of low moral character we want to see in the people we count on each and every day for safety and protection?

    So I’m wondering, if it were me, would I be O.K with a “heavy handed”, unqualified officer abusing power that he quite frankly didn’t even have? And furthermore, would I, as a citizen, sit back and throw my arms up in defeat? Since the answer to this is “NO!” I certainly expect that mayor Testruth and Chief Ellison would not. The behavior of these men (Elison and his assistant chief Bick) is distasteful, but hearing that the mayor himself is ignoring this very serious problem is an abomination to say the least.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I was taught from an early age that hiding from a problem doesn’t make it go away, thus doing away with the Board of Public Safety will not fix this problem, Mr. Mayor. This Board is for us, put in place for the benefit of those of us who live here. Ignoring this, and especially “recycling” our board is a slap in the face to each person who resides inside the city limits. These are the people entrusted by the citizens to work FOR the community, not against it. I am however happy to know and take comfort in the fact that we have people like Mr. Bandy and Mr. Harrison who are willing to do the right thing and hold those who are not, responsible for their actions.

    On a final note, it is disappointing and quite embarrassing that the chief and assistant chief would treat the city like their own personal playground and feel as though they are exempt from the same rules that they are expected to enforce for the safety of the people. I truly hope this matter is resolved quickly and in PROPER FASHION! It was President JFK who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”. I’m sure he meant this for small government as well.

    • Mike M., I appreciate your comments and critique. You have hit the nail on the head.

  8. I am at a lost that the Mayor and the police officers did not take the oath serious. How can you lead a city like this? Kudos to Bandy and Harrison. Hopefully the citizens will turn out for the Council Meeting Monday!!

  9. Let me get this straight….the Police Chief and Assistance Chief aren’t qualified officers under standards set forth by the State of Indiana? However, given their titles, I assume that they carry a badge, gun & drive city-owned vehicles. (I know that I’ve seen a police car in Bick’s driveway on numerous occasions). By the mayor ignoring these facts, he has opened our small city up for a huge liability that we can ill afford. Denying someone their civil liberties by making an arrest without the proper credentials seems like it could open the door for a costly lawsuit.

    Shame on Mayor Testruth for turning a blind eye and referring to it as “bickering”. I checked the City of Southport website for information about the Board of Public Safety and found the following:

    MISSION STATEMENT
    This Board is a governing agency of the city specifically created to provide public safety services in Southport for residents and visitors by enforcing laws, administering regulatory programs, managing records, educating the public and managing emergencies, both directly and through interaction with other agencies.

    This is a farce. When Mr. Bandy & Mr. Harrison attempted make sure that the laws were enforced in accordance regulations in place by the city & state, they were slapped on the hand.

    Thank you to Mr. Bandy & Mr. Harrison for keeping the safety of the citizens of Southport in mind. If this is the way Testruth plans on running the city, he will be one & done. I’m very interested to see what the city council’s reaction will be.

  10. I was told today that there are others on the Southport Police Dept. Who are not authorized to be police officers, who are driving police cars belonging to the tax payers of the city. They are informing the local bussiness that they are police officers of Southport. Driving dark blue police cars with lights and police plates!!! OMG!!! I dont know what to believe now with this new info.

    Who is Officer John Coy? (I thought that he was a tow truck driver for the city.) Officer Stan Miller? (Hes just new…) Kyle Mcclintok? (thought that he was a maintenance guy?) Major/(Officer) Curtis Johnson. I thought that he was an IMPD Officer but I’m being told now that hes just an Southport Police Officer? (is there a reason hes not on IMPD?) I have been told that they might not have training required to be reconized as City of Southport Police Officers.

    I cant say that I know everyone who works for Southport. I waive at them often, some waive and others don’t. I guess I just want to know. Are they trained or not? I would call the police department to make a inquiry, but I just dont trust that I wouldnt be lied too by the the current upper management Staff. I dont have any warm fuzzy’s about this whole thing anymore.

    Does the local media know anything about this?

    I feel that We, Citizens, just took a hit on the jaw. I want to believe in good government. I want to respect what generations of Southport citizens believed in when they decided that we should become a city. I guess at this point we are looking at the start of the end.

    I am proud that Kevin Bandy and Andrew Harrison have the City’s honor in mind.

    I am writing a letter to my Council member tonight. I dont know him very well, but I believe that he has honor and will get me the answers. Unless you can tell me…

  11. Well I find this all very interesting, sad, but interesting. Not to undermind the severity of what is written here, but I find it particularly amusing that the former mayor (Thoman) has so much to say in this forum but was guilty of similar behavior when he was in office.

    Yes, Robin would drive around town with a police radio in his little 2 seater and it was reported that he had a Southport police badge in his possession. I can’t speak of any first hand knowledge that he engaged in or pretended to act as a police officer but many of us were concerned at the implications of such activities. Now, Rob wants to get everyone outraged over this latest debockle. I don’t want to imply it doesn’t deserve investigation and follow up, but what does airing this laundry in this forum really do besides give Rob an arena to point his finger and say “oh look what this mayor and his police chief have done!”

    This is the same approach Rob used with the city council. There were many times the council wanted answers as to expenditures the city was doling out,($3000/month for a public relations person) but Rob never gave any answers and would do his best to deflect questions. I remember being mandated by then chief Davis to attend a city council meeting simply to see first hand what he had to deal with on a weekly basis. I remember walking out of that meeting thinking it was the worst display of disfuctional governmnet that I had ever witnessed.

    This most recent concern IS a serious matter, and I believe that Mr Bandy and Mr Harrison are quite capable of handling it, or turning it over to the proper authorities for investigation. However, the finger pointing and name calling that plagued Mayor

    Thoman’s term in office really has no place in the big picture of looking into whether we have officers serving in command roles for the police dept that are not qualified under Indiana law to do so. Im sure if someone wanted to dig into Thoman’s administration there would be many things to investigate and perhaps even prosecute. Two words. Grow up!!

  12. What is going on in this city? It appears that the Board of Public Safety was trying to address this serious issue.

    For the Mayor to simply call this “Bickering” is quite alarming. If former Mayor Thoman had a Police Chief, or any officer that was not certified making arrests, the media would be all over it. I do not see where this involves Thoman except that he is making the residents of Southport aware of the situation. He did not hire Chief Ellison or Bill Bick. That responsibility falls on the current Mayor.

    Ignoring the facts that have been presented by the Board of Public Safety just because Thoman was the former Mayor is stupid! As far as I know, he still has his residence in Southport and is still a (citizen). If our neighbors do not care what is going on with the City Police Department committing illegal acts then just eliminate all the City Council members, all the Boards, and just let Mayor Testruth and Chief Ellison and Asst. Chief Bick lead the city with zero oversight. Sounds like that is the current practice anyway.

  13. It concerns me that a possible investigation would threaten our city. There has been so much corruption here I can’t imagine what the consequences of this issue will be.

    I pray we do not lose our community over poor decisions made by the people in charge. I know citizens that done their part above and beyond, but when the elected and appointed officials do not, that is just a disgrace. Prayers for Southport to strengthen up definately need to go out, if this means we need new leadership than I think the only respectful thing to do would be for the chief(s) and officers unqualified to have enough integrity to step down.

    Also if the mayor can not get his head on straight it would be wise for him to consider the same. As citizens we need to band together to keep our board of public safety and do what we can for our community. Hopefully justice will prevail for those who broke the law and violated the civil rights of citizens.

  14. What a mess! Seems like Mayberry in living color? Does anyone know what is going on?

    While I appreciate the “value of prayer,” I doubt that prayer will fix this situation. God is not the magic answer-man who steps down to earth to moderate and mitigate our problems. Humans have God-given hands, minds, and that elusive old heart that they must employ to solve problems. Prayer might help an individual understand a situation and be comforted in it, but prayer is not a fix-all! We need to check the laws, make appropriate legal decisions, and hold elected officials to doing what they were elected to do.

    They govern for us, not against us!

    • Your right Roger. Prayer isn’t going to help the Mayor and Ellison now with their earthly troubles with the County Prosecutor or the community unheaval. Reflection, contemplation and, of course prayer can lighten their mental load and lift their spirits. Peace of mind is always a big step in dealling with life’s difficulties.

      i hope the reflections aid in bringing peace to their hearts. Really, i do.

  15. Are these the two “police officers” that have been entrapping people for not stopping at the stop sign at Crossgate? They sit back where no one can see them in the dark, cars are parked close to the stop sign on the left and drivers cannot see around them. So, when one creeps up to see if it is clear and then proceeds, lights start going off. They then stop you and make you feel like an idiot asking,”Didn’t you see the stop sign or do you not know what that big red sign means?” I agree – What a mess!

    • It may be. If you were stoppe by either, you should call the marion county prosecutor.

      Impersontating an officer is a serious offense. If you were detained, that’s another problem all together.

  16. Come to the Southport new reality show. Boss Hogg and his incompetent illegal donut eaters staff in action. Come to Southport, the new pickin and grinnin hillbilly suburb of Indy. Sort of reminds me of Repo Games , except those guys are more qualified.

    • Too bad a few bad apples at the top of the tree make the rest of the good fruit look rotten.

      The arrogance of a few should not be applied to the rest of the department that are hardworking, honest public servants. It’s impossible that every member of a department is an outstanding, blemish free employee. It didn’t happen during my administration and it isn’t happening now. It won’t be that way if Ellison resigns and another chief is selected.

      Overall, I’ve found the guys (and gals) that serve in Southports PD to be quite good and true public servants. The leadership is the critical factor and the SoPD needs a capable leader.

      Yes, the Repo guys are more qualified than Ellison and Bick. At least the Repo guys know the rules and have their certifications.

  17. Bick has always been a reserve officer only. Never a full time police officer. He worked several years with Marion County Sheriff. He drove a truck for a living. He got fired 15 years ago for incompetence when at the time he was chief of Police.

    • I’m not sure, but I think you’re right. Wild Bill told me he didn’t finish the ILEA Chief’s School because Tunget fired him midstream.

      I can’t tell if he was fired for incompetence. It could be that the retired chief returned from his short hiatus and was re-enrolled by Tunget.

  18. According to LINKEDIN, Assistant Chief, or suspended Asst. Chief, or plain clothes Asst. Chief, was/or claims that he was a Airlines/Aviation Professional as a security officer for American Trans Air. Since Chief Ellsison isn’t an attorney, and did not know that training and certification was needed to be a police officer, I am curious if he knew to do a background check on his assistant Chief. Did the Mayor do a background check on his Chief? Rumor is that Ellison was a Quarter Master for the U.S. Marshall. Taking responsability for equipment does not qaulify someone to be in charge of enforcing the laws of Southport. This may very well be the answer as to why laws are being broke and not enforced.
    Does the Chief and Assistant Chief really think that they can now complete the training and return to duty, as if crimes have not already been committed? Mayor Testruth has got to see how ridiculous he is making the city out to be. Fire the Board of Public Safety but keep in place the individuals that were illegal in thier actions. We have one big mess on our hands. Mayor Testruth needs to deal with this in the best interest of the City or it will haunt him for years to come.

  19. Once again here we are with media frenzy!! I am not pleased by these actions of Chief Ellison and His Assistant Bick. I dont know if I can ever look at them the same way again. I miss Chief Burgess he was a standup guy who looked out for the community. I can say that Chief Ellison is no Chief Burgess. I suppose par to the course, It appears to me at this point that we have The Three Stooges running the show. I have spoken to my City Councillor and felt that they were being lead to believe everything was going fine, with the police department, I spoke to an officer today as well and they claimed that they were managing the best they new how, “I am not happy but what do you do?” he said. I was hoping for a better responses, I guess the old saying that, its not what you know but who you know,(blow), applies here. I know Jesse is a loyal guy with alot on his plate. But I would hope that he could see the termoil that the assistant chief placed the City in with his actions. The failure of the chief to not step up and act with the responsible course, instead of just being friends. Thier is alot to say when someone screws up and admits hes mistake, but what about the victims that had thier rights taken from them? I wonder what they will have to say about Chief Ellison and Assistant Chief William (Wild Bill) Bick. If you have been pulled over by one of these two I hope that you contact the Mayor or the City Council President of Southport. If you dont think that would accomplish anything then I can say I guess contact the State Police and file a report of the occurence that you incountered. I hope that my city officials see how trying to cover for there friends is not the right approach to our city’s future. I guess I will have to be the one to say I am sorry to those of you who were victims of our Police Chief and his assistant. “I am Sorry”

  20. Rexroat returned from Florida and Tunget brought him back after Bick and Richard Elliot( deceased)made a mess of things. Bick has no law enforcement training other than the MCSD reserve academy . He was a weekend warrior.The academy was of very poor quality. Its sad where things have gone. It use to be Homecroft was the butt of the jokes in the law enforcement community in Marion County-(Barber,Bosworth). Now its Southport. I suggest that the new major shut the department down and allow IMPD take care of things.

  21. I read that the Mayor dismissed Andrew Harrison and Kevin Bandy. Is this true?

    • Matt, I’m not sure. Both tell me that they have not received any official notice of their dismissals.

      Now couldn’t be a worse time to short-change the Board of Public Safety! An inquiry was started under Bandy’s and Harrison’s watch and requires further attention to resolve the original allegations.

      Additionally, new concerns have surfaced that involve the recent homicide. It has been reported that suspect, an apparent homeless woman at the Putt-Putt Friday evening. A Southport citizen called Mayor Testruth directly that same evening to inform him of the suspicious person asleep on a picnic table. It is not known yet if Jesse relayed the concern to Chief Ellison or if he responded personally.

      In either case, some action was warranted – at the very least! It remains to be seen how Mayor Testruth, Chief Ellison, SoPD or IMPD responded.

  22. Rob,

    You can’t bring IMPD into the conversation . Southport wanted a police Department and be big boys and Girls. They need to take whatever heat comes there way. Its sorta bad however that they can’t investigate there own homicide. In reflection, they do need to be disbanded.

    • Somebody,

      I’m not entirely sure where IMPD fits in this investigation but I can comment on our interactions during my administration.

      Not every police department in every city can support every specialty of law enforcement. It doesn’t make sense for Southport, or Bargersville to have a SWAT team nor (in my opinion) did it make sense to develop a canine unit. Others disagreed. A homicide investigation requires another level of investigation that our city just can’t support. Southport can barely pay its Chief what he or she deserves – assuming they are adequately qualified AND certified.

      Your reflection that our department should be disbanded is a topic of another conversation. My thought is that IPMD is always our back-up. I may not like it. My neighbors may not likeit, IMPD may not like it. We all (Southport) citizens do pay through our local and county taxes for just such services. Actually, we pay for the two departments to serve our citizens. Not a bad deal, as long as Southport can afford it.

      The Southport mayor has the challenge to find within available funds those monies necessary to support a supplemental force. He can add paid or volunteer detectives and forego partol officers. He can beef up traffic patrols and short code enforcement. It’s the mayor, with advice and direction from the Public Safety Board that builds and maintains the SoPD.

      I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  23. Rob,

    Fair enough. You had a very thoughtful response. There comes a time however when the citizens of Southport need a little more public safety than what they are currently getting. When Ellison and Bick are appointed, it doesn’t bring any stability to your City. This happened 16 years ago with Bick and Elliot. What needs to happen is an agreement with IMPD . The city has one Chief and several part time officers that are “full-time” from other departments. When certain hours aren’t covered, IMPD takes care of the city. You make sure the officers are given a decent wage so that you get quality help. You don’t need Bick to fill a roll as an assistent.The City is to small to have such a top heavy administation. It looks dumb. Just my thoughts. Good luck Southport!!

    • Somebody,
      I’m happy to engage in thoughtful commentary. This blog thing is evolving each week and I’m learning how to best contribute and encourage civil conversation.

      A civil conversation about the pro’s and con’s of a sustainable (and stable) SoPD would be great. I wonder how that might occur? Could it happen with a forum like this or a round-table of insightful movers and shakers? I really don’t know how to best reach a workable, constructive consensus. My inclination is typically autocratic. That didn’t work well all the time during my public service life.

      So much politics; I mean that constructively, is involved in decisions like these. What’s the status quo? Is the mayor or chief a leader or a follower. What IS the pay scale involved? We must include money in the conversation! What can the City afford? Do we really need an auxillary department? Our neighborhoods are already covered – and already pay for IMPD coverage. Some think that IMPD is working well in their neighborhoods; others think it can’t get much worse.

      What is the best way to deploy our current resources and to establish necessary resources for years down the road? I hope other chime in on this topic to add their 2 cents worth. Surely there are more valuable insights than I can offer.

  24. I have read through these comments and I am very dissapointed with the state of affairs that our community is going through. I personally do not know Ellison or Bick, or IMPD Curtis Johnson. If all of these guys are being paid and some are not qaulified, that is a waste of the city money. It sounds like the city has opened itself to possible multiple lawsuits that we can not afford.

    Do we really need IMPD in the command role of the city?

    They do back up our officers and patrol our streets when called, and we pay taxes for that, and that is not a problem that I can see.

    If the Mayor, and City Council do not want to look at possible crimes committed for two officers in charge there really is no conversation that can take place. No administration wants to look bad and admit that mistakes were made, but to cover it up and dismiss the Board of Public Safety for addressing these questions is making a situation worse. Are they convinced now that this will all just go away? This will make any citizen frustrated when the leadership of the city is in denial, or worse, by being implicitly involved in a coverup so the citizens believe all is well. Test the Truth!!!!

    • Dear Frustrated,

      The comments that are coming in through this web site and others do reveal a fair bit of consternation regarding an apparent lack of oversight now that the BPS is rudderless. Southport had two conscientious professionals looking out for the City and the mayor. They were relieved of their duties because they shed light on the Ellison & Bick team who WERE doing things illegally. Rather than engage them and address the issue, their concerns were dismissed.

      The possibility of lawsuits is real but not likely until all the issues are brought to light. The victims would have to know of the violations AND would have to pursue their cause.

      I’ll bet that Bick was volunteering. I don’t know for sure but that’s my sense.

      Regarding the current Acting Chief, Officer Johnson; I suspect he’s getting paid. I’m not sure why he would take on the responsibility without compensation. It’s not much, about $15/hr. IMPD officers are certainly certified. At least we’re getting that benefit.

      About the Council and the possibility of an extended cover-up; I hope it will all get worked out with the superior investigating agency. I’m hearing that the state police or even the FBI might be involved. We’ll just have to wait it out.

      Stay tuned for updates at this web site.

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