'A shock': Indiana town's entire police force resigns, alleges malfeasance

'A shock': Indiana town's entire police force resigns, alleges malfeasance
The marshal and four deputies of a small town in northern Indiana abruptly quit their jobs, claiming the town council had asked the police department to do “illegal, unethical, and immoral things,” while leaving officers underfunded.

Michael Thomison, the town marshall of Bunker Hill, Indiana, resigned this week, as did four reserve deputies, leaving the town without its own law enforcement officers, according to the Kokomo Tribune. The town will rely on the Miami County Sheriff's Office for patrol and emergency response until a new marshal is hired.

The local building commissioner also resigned "due to the actions of the current town council."

The resignations occurred Monday at a regular Bunker Hill Town Council meeting. Thomison said in his resignation letter that town board members had asked him to "be involved in illegal, unethical and immoral things over time," including requests for criminal background information on other board members. He also claimed officers were threatened when they did not comply with these requests.

"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, according to the Tribune.

Thomison said the council has not adequately funded his department, especially concerning body armor for officers. The department said its officers were forced to share one set of armor, and that the town had scaled back the department from nine reserve deputies to four.

"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," Thomison said.

Thomison also alleged that the town had asked him to work part time for insurance reasons after he came back to work in May following a cancer diagnosis last year.

"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 file a lawsuit against the town for this particular reason, according to WTTV.

The town council accepted the resignations, saying in a statement that it has had to make "a number of cuts to the police department over the last few years" over lack of funding, but that it is "diligently working to solve this problem for the coming year."

The council added that it "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 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 said.

The town said it is seeking a replacement marshal and deputies.

"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," Thomison said, according to WTTV.

Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller said his department will "take care of citizens’ needs in the interim. We will ensure they will have law enforcement present for the needs of the town."