Southport Matters » Conversations, Public Safety, Southport » Asst. Chief Bick resigns from SoPD

Asst. Chief Bick resigns from SoPD

Southport Mayor, Jesse Testruth confirmed at Monday nights Council meeting that “Wild Bill” Bick has resigned from his appointed position as Southport’s Assistant Chief of Police.

 

Testruth announced that IMPD officer, Curtis Johnson would be serving as Deputy Chief “until this big mess gets straightened out”.

 

The suspended asst. chief has come under fire recently from Public Safety Board members for impersonating an officer.  In April, complaints were received by Southport’s Public Safety Director Kevin Bandy that Bick had never achieved the necessary law enforcement training requirements outlined in Indiana statutes.  Further investigations by Safety Board members revealed a number of alleged criminal and civil rights violations.  Board members initiated an official inquiry but were dismissed by Testruth before the first meeting was scheduled.  “You just can come in here and demand [that] Ellison follow the law” explained Testruth at the monthly Board meeting. 

 

At that same contentious Board meeting Southport’s suspended Chief of Police, Randy Ellison explained that he alone had authorized Bick’s activities, provided a badge, marked vehicle for personal use and radio.  Ellison learned last week that he too was not adequately certified to serve as a police officer in Indiana.  Testruth immediately placed both “officers” on administrative desk duty until each is able to achieve Indiana certification.

 

During the public comment section of the Monday Council meeting, Ellison referred all questions to the City Legal Department.  Mayor Testruth explained that “the City isn’t going to pay for any legal services.  You’re all on your own dime”.

 

Bick’s wife Judy is embarrassed by the whole thing.  “I was just getting comfortable using the city of Southport as my return address” shouted Mrs. Bick at the February Council meeting.  “Now I’ll have to go back to using Indianapolis [instead]”.

 

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22 comments on “Asst. Chief Bick resigns from SoPD

  1. Personally, I was disturbed when Testruth attempted to make excuses for Ellison’s lack of training by indicating that he did not hire Ellison to act as a police officer.
    I think that it’s reasonable to assume that if the person is driving a marked police vehicle, wearing a police uniform, carrying a police badge & toting a firearm, they just might be a police officer. If it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck, it might be a duck…..except in Southport. It might be the police chief.

    • Dear Voter,

      I too was shocked at Testruth’s revelation. Realistically though, Jesse is still trying to keep his head above water and he’s having trouble dog-paddling. He can’t keep up with the flow of questions, run the meeting and contemplate a response to a difficult or challenging questions. It was difficult for me too to manage all three tasks: run the meeting; answer questions or criticisms and mount an offense.

      It wasn’t so much that he was trying to make an excuse as much as regurgitate earlier conversations with some outside advisor. I may have been Sandlin or Dant or City Legal. The mayor can hire any consultant he desires as long as he as appropriations left in the current budget. Jesse has plenty left in the appropriations bank. If he wants, he can hire Ellison as his new public safety director and let Randy steer the public safety ship.

      Jesse’s statement was probably meant to be a (unintended) red herring with hopes of diverting attention or closing a dead end conversation. Of course, it didn’t work and only served to aggravate some in the audience. He doesn’t really understand what he’s saying when the water gets rough and he’s getting fire from the right and left flanks.

  2. Actually, the board of public safety was wrong in simply questioning if assistant Chief was impersonating an officer.

    The correct questioning should have centered around Criminal Confinement, and by carrying a weapon is a class B Felony! The Civil Rights Violations stem from that. They should understand what Criminal Confinement is [in] playing a Chief’s role.

    Hopefully, once Ellison gets all his training completed he will have a better understanding of the laws he swore to uphold and get a refresher course on the Constitution of the United States!!!! I see that Ellison understands his 5th amendment right to remain silent and the 6th amendement to have council. [How Convenient]

    Mayor Testruth is in charge and [as] he stated on Fox 59 that he takes full responsibility.

    Assistant Chief Bick should have never been appointed, and his wife should have known better than to allow him, considering his past failures. This [resignation] is positive for Southport. Every citizen [should] not have to worry about being stopped, detained, and/or arrested by [Bick] any longer, and he is no longer adding felony charges to his long list of mistakes. At least Mayor Testruth accepted his resignation. That is [a] positive.

    • Dear Mr. Positive,

      When you put it that way, it sounds even worse. It’s likely that I didn’t understand the consequences as much as Mr.s’ Bandy and Harrison. As safety professionals, they are much more on top of the circumstances than I can be. Contrary to other opinions, I didn’t start the inquiry but merely picked up on it at the Board meeting. It was clear that something was afoot and that the city might be susceptible to increasing liabilities.

  3. Glad to hear Bill Bick has decided to move on – he was nothing but a blowhard trucker who had no business dealing with the public!
    Sorry to hear that he had someone fooled to believe in him, especially someone at the top of the department.

    Please keep Southport a nice, safe community and promote some officers who have good solid policing records! Thanks

    • Mr. Dover,

      Wild Bill did seem to be a blowhard at times, didn’t he. It all seemed like harmless antics until I learned of his actions after getting his belt, badge and batton from Ellison. It wasn’t so harmless after all. He almost took out Chief Ellison and Mayor Testruth with his inappropriate actions. He was so quick to critcise me in 2009 for (my stupid) actions 30+ years. It isn’t over yet.

      Now that I’m no longer the mayor, I don’t have to listen to his stories, bigotry and condemnations or keep my thoughts to myself. Judy, his wife got a bit snippy at times and rarely missed an opportunity to add grief during my term in office. She was emboldened while Wild Bill was the Sargeant at Arms for the council and Assistant Police Chief. She’s not so snippy now though!

  4. I cannot help but wonder as I read these comments on how the Mayor or the Chief allowed the Police Department to become the biggest joke in the State in less than five months?

    Ellison is the suspended Chief who lets his men take the fall for his ignorance. He has no moral compass and can not even take responsibility for the decisions that he allowed. Instead, he lets his Assistant Chief take the fall to save his own precious job. Good job Chief!!! Keep up the great work you are providing for the City. Good job Mayor!!! Thank you for hiring the most disqualified Chief in law enforcement.

    Thank you City Council for ignoring your duties. The city will become the biggest joke in the state with this kind of leadership. Team Southport is a joke, and we are not laughing.

  5. Whoa! I had to think about that comic for a second. I had to look several times for the tow truck chaplain and he was not a choice. It must be [Wild] Bill Bick! Yep, I am pretty sure it is that one, but if there had been a tow truck chaplain, I don’t know who I would have picked?

    • Dear Ted,

      I sure can appreciate the interest in bringing Cheif Davis back. He served with distinction for me and the City and would make an excellent choice for any department, small or large.

      Two things:
      First, I don’t think Steve would come back. I might be wrong and I haven’t asked him if he would – but why put yourself in the middle of a hornets nest. Having said that, he did do the same thing when I asked him to serve. In June o f 2009, he took over after the unexpected departure of Chief Burgess. I was both grateful and appreciative that Steve took on such a task. His credentials also save face (mine) when he stepped in as interim Chief. Then, the search committee of residents and stakeholders recommended Steve along with two other candidates to fill the position. After comparing Steve to the other candidates (each exceptional in their own right) – and it was a difficult decision – Steve was chosen. I didn’t know at the time how lucky my choice was to select him among the candidates.

      It turned out to be a great choice. We got along well although we didn’t always agree; Chief Davis maintained a professional, courteous and paramilitary demeanor. He served (me) with distinction and always gave our community his full attention. The team he assembled and the system he created fit well in Southport. Were things perfect in his department? No department can claim such achievement. But it worked well and when problems came up, the solutions worked well too.

      I was especially proud of the SoPD under his command. It was all his achievement. I simply lucked out and put the right person in charge. I’d rather be lucky than good.

      Secondly, I don’t think Mayor Testruth could bring himself to ask Chief Davis to return. Again, I have not asked Jesse if he would consider Steve to replace Ellison.

      Testruth was less than enthusiastic with Chief Davis during my term often complaining that Steve didn’t share the necessary information with him [Testruth]. I tried to explain to Jesse that Davis was merely following my orders. That’s the way that Steve is; dedicated to a military chain of command. If I thought that sharing information with Jesse or others was counterproductive to my administration or leadership style, I would ask Steve to keep them ( and Testruth) out-of-the-loop. Not to be disrespectful to Jesse or any others; merely a difference in my style of leadership. Shoot! I even asked Steve to avoid sharing specific information with my appointments to the Safety Board. I wasn’t trying to isolate Kevin or Andrew. At times, it was important to hold information until it had been thoroughly vetted for consumption – by friends or foe’s. Although Jesse and I shared a common goal and were friendly, I couldn’t say the same for most members of Team Southport. On more than one occasion, simple information turned into a source of complaints by the likes of Rose Harrison, Susan Schmoll and Marilyn Mayfield. That’s to bad but that’s the way it was.

      In closing, it would be great for Southport and good for Testruth to have Steve back in the saddle. I just don’t see it happening.

  6. Rob,

    Thank you for the well thought out response, I completely understand your position. I know Steve Davis well enough to know his faith compels him to help others. He is selfless soul. He has devoted his life to helping.

    I would hope, for our sake that the current mayor, and council might see they caused ALL this. Southport is wide open to bankruptcy with all the lawsuits that we are open to. We see that nobody is perfect and they made mistakes. But why not man up? Why not admit Steve Davis was good for us and ask him? What they tried failed and caused some very bad things.

    • You welcome Ted. I think we (I) can narrow down the perp’s in this case. It’s Bick, then Ellison, then Testruth.

      Wild Bill Bick first, because he acted before he was certified and ineligible to serve as a public safety officer. His demeanor made matters worse. His actions provide the real exposure to the City.

      Ellison second, because he too was ineligible to serve as a public safety officer. He explains that he recenly completed the Indiana Chief of Police School (at ILEA) but failed to learn the requirements for himself or any of his officers. Ellison also failed the department miserably by canning any of those who know the rules, knew the city and any internal systems. He even fired Southports lead investigator leaving the County Prosecutor in a lurch in pursuing felonious activities occuring (and that have occured) in the City. 4 years of investigation down the drain. Solid charges had to be dropped.

      Testruth finally, because he failed to take critical action to protect the City and failing to hold Ellison and Bick accountable. When the BPS brought forward the allegations, Testruth chose to sweep things under the rug instead of using the system in place to exonerate or expose the allegations. Why not prove that Ellison and Bick were well within the law and remedy the entire fiasco?

      Lastly, I seriously doubt that the City is exposed to bankruptcy. I’m not aware of any lawsuits – YET!. Unless somebody officially complains – and those complaints are pursued, nothing is likely to happen any more than the chatter on this blog.

  7. Wild Bill will be back on the department soon enough. Going through training to be certified and all will be forgotten as though nothing ever happened.

  8. So Bick will be back? Isnt that like letting a guy that practiced brain surgery without going to med school and lying about it back in to cut up others? He was never a cop, just needed a job and pressured his way into it?

    So nobody vetting anybody for the town? What happened to all the officers that we did have and that committed? I know a lot did all the training two years ago? Why get rid of them just for the cronies who are not cops?

    If anything this shows absolutely no integrity on the part of everybody involved. After everything happened why should WE trust these liars and cons to protect the town and why let those that decided it was ok to let there buddies play cop no be accountable? It might be time for a recall or a community based sanction on the matter. As I said in previous posts why not ask Davis back, if the current mayor wont put in a real cop and expects us to wait till his preferred buddies get trained and qualified then he doesn’t care about our town.

    • Well Ted,
      I sure don’t know if Wild Bill will be back. Nobody is asking those who make the decision(s) and the decision makers aren’t making statements. These are GREAT questions to pose at the BPW, BPS and SoCC meetings. A direct question to Testruth might offer a truthful answer.

      Nobody on Team Southport should be accused of being brain surgeons!

      No, it doesn’t appear that the SoPD leadership is accomplishing anything close to vetting of our new officers (see Wild Bill Bick). Those officers that continued from the last administration should also be vetted. All should expect any new Chief to follow up on ANYBODY and EVERYBODY in his department when he joins the team. I wouldn’t expect to see any troubles with existing officers but I wouldn’t trust the “old” adminstration if I were in newly charge and responsible for the integrety of the department. This might seem like a small issue but obvoiusly representative of Ellison’s lacking insight and missing leadership skills.

      I heard you before Ted, Davis would be a good choice to replace Ellison, CERTAINLY. But it ain’t gonna happen! I just don’t see Testruth eating his words and reaching out to Davis. Darn, Testruth won’t even reach out to Bandy or A. Harrison or any other subject matter experts. He doesn’t consult the City Attorney when the issue of City sponsored prayer is challenges nor does he use advice from the City Engineer in cancelling public works projects. Nor does he seek advice from business leaders in planning street festivals. He just doesn’t use the professionals that are capable and willing.

      Now, keep in mind that ANY new chief will bring his “buddies” into the system as soon as he takes a new seat. Every leader does that when they take charges. Ellison should be expected to do the same – and I don’t see a problem with that. As long as Southport does not have a departmentalized budget (for public safety) nor do we enjoy (or suffer) from a Merit System; we can’t expect anything different – and I don’t see a problem with that. It seems thought that Ellison doesn’t have a pool of available buddies to choose from – he chose Wild Bill, remember. Davis was lucky in some ways to start with a nearly blank slate unencumbered by lingering officers – not that there is anything wrong with that. Sure, Davis did have to deal with a suspended, demoted and remprimanded Mark Myers. But that was an easy call for Davis to accept his resignation. Myers was found to be improperly using police powers while suspended to investigate elected officials – me!

  9. Ted,
    Many of the officers that were committed to the city had been forced to resign or be terminated by Chief Ellison and Bill Bick. Many of the once committed officers that remain are unhappy and only put in their required time each week and nothing more. Police coverage has dropped in the city and extra shifts are not being filled, leaving many shifts uncovered. Experienced officers were demoted from rank to officer, and others with less experience were promoted to rank.
    Officers are told who they can be friends with and who they cannot. Violation of these orders is forced resignation or termination. There is distrust within the ranks as once friends have now become enemies.
    Nobody is going to ask former Chief Davis to return. Everyone on team Southport wanted him out so they could run the department the way they wanted to without any questions or objections. What happens when someone questions team Southport and their agenda? Ask all the officers that were forced to resign or the Board of Public Safety. They get outed and the high fives are given in the department for an agenda completed. Orders have been given to officers not to respond to anything on this website, or be faced with the decision to resign or be terminated. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

  10. Public Safety has changed a great deal in the last several years. Gone are the times when Southport could hire a full time Chief and then hire several part-time officers from other departments and not worry about the training, equipment, background ect ect. The city was able to pay very low pay because the officers were happy to work in the laid back environment provided by Ron Rexroat in the 80′s and middle to late 90′s.The pay was “ok” and they had a great working relationship with MCSD. Officers Hotseller and Van Meter were actually road deputies with MCSD.Max Maxfield was from Greenwood and Kevin Lauerman from IUPUI Police. A very well trained and professional buch of guys. However, things changed with money. The pay could not stay up with what officers could get elsewhere. There was a 10 dollar difference. Soon , good officers stopped coming by to apply with Southport. The city settled with less trained officers and went with the reserve model(Bick,Whitaker,Lowe and Obst). The product became lessened as many police noticed, especially after the merger. The City would not be covered as it use to be and it was common among the IMPD that Southport was hiring officers that couldn’t get a job elsewhere.

    The answer is simple. Southport needs to have a written agreement in place with IMPD. Southport will take care of the city during the day Mon-Friday. The “paid” Chief will cover those hours along with one other officer or whatever they can afford. The rest of the time, IMPD will cover. Along with this will include investigations and any and all catastrophic events. The citizens will come out ahead and that is what matters, not the ego of a few.

    The City desearved what they got with Bick. He failed as a co-Chief in 1994-1995 and he failed again later. He has never gone to a certified Law Enforcement Academy.He has always longed to be the police but couldn’t. He settled as a reserve with MCSD.

    Just a little History Lesson from “Sombody that Knows”.

    • Yes Somebody …,
      Lot’s of things have changed in Southport over the past 30 years. The schools have changed, the residency count has changed, the demographics have changed, the property values have changed and just about every thing else has changed too. You’re rigth; those time have come and gone. It’s time to adjust to the new times and current conditions.

      About your simple answer. Southport does have an inter-local agreement in place with IMPD. We have had one for years. Actually, it covers our neighborhoods 24-7 and for any or all types of services. Big investigations, criminal complaints with elected officials or those who might impersonate an officer. Even code enforcement can occur through Indianapolis and Marion County.

      The only need to maintain our own department would be for two things, enforcement of local ordinances and the benefits of increased neighborhood patrols. Not much else is necessary. IMPD can and does provide adequate coverage in Twinbrooks, Homecroft, Perry Manor and Winchester Village neighborhoods. Do you suggest that Southport requires more IMPD attention than in those communities? As other county citizens, we do pay taxes for these same service levels. How much should Southport spend toward additional public safety services beyond those county taxes? I personally enjoy the benefits of additional neighborhood patrols. But these patrols should be manned by qualified, reserve volunteers using best management practices. That means our officers on the street when their presence is the greatest deterent to residential crimes.

      I do think that a paid department manager is indicated. This chief should be paid about $35-40,000 a year and should build his department using reserve officers alone.

      A critical conversation is still necessary by the community. We should ask ourselves; How much of our available resources should our City dedicate to public safety? How much should we set aside for vehicle maintenance, fuel, training, uniforms, supplies, et. and include the salary for the chief of police?

      My memory and math tells me that our renewable annual City budget approximates $600,000. In the past, the SoPD required approx. $65,000 – $85,000 to exist. Do you know what the rest of the remaining budget is used for? Should we spend more or less toward the SoPD? What other services should be be reduced to pay any increase in the SoPD expenses?

      • Good statement, Rob, of the “way things are.” Cities make more progress when they face reality. Attempting to living in fantasyland is self-defeating! I hope that the Southport community listens to the questions that Rob poses. The answers to his question could help Southport design a path to effective public safety.

  11. It appears that Bick may be back on the police department. A Southport Police vehicle has been in his driveway for several days now. Given that, I would hope that he has completed the minimum 40-hour pre-basic course. I wonder if the police chief & mayor intend to send him through (or if he can complete) the full basic training course as required by the State of Indiana in order to retain police powers.
    I’m not sure why Testruth & Ellison are hell-bent on having such a huge liability on the city books. If the question was posed to the mayor, it is doubtful that much of an answer would be given.

  12. He is back!!!!!!! Just like I predicted on June 2 of this year. Congrats to Wild Bill for finally completeing his training and worming his way back onto the department. It is a major accomplishment to have to resign as Assistant Chief for not being a certified police officer, and making an illegal apprehension, to returning with the rank of Major for the Southport Police Department. Just as nothing had ever happened. Sleep well everyone in Southport. Wild Bill Bick is on duty for your safety and protection. Thank you Chief Ellison for your brilliant wisdom. Thank You Mayor Testruth for your oversight of the city and allowing such briliant choices to be made with your approval. That raise you all gave yourselves was obviously not for skills in leadership. Really, Major? Why not Assistant Chief? haha. At least the new Public Safety Board won’t question the Chief or Mayor, or their volunteer status will be eliminated quickly.