Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them
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Nearly All the Officers in Charge of an Indiana Police Department Have Been Disciplined — Including the Chief Who Keeps Promoting Them

Ken Armstrong |
November 16, 2018

Of the 34 supervisors in the Elkhart, Indiana, Police Department, 28 have been disciplined. Fifteen have been suspended. Seven have been involved in fatal shootings. Three have been convicted of criminal charges.


When Ed Windbigler became Elkhart’s police chief in January 2016, one of his first tasks was selecting his top command staff.

For assistant chief, his second in command, Windbigler named Todd Thayer. Less than three years before, Thayer had been demoted two ranks for making flippant comments about a fatal shooting. Witnesses reported he said a fellow officer could now check shooting a person off his “bucket list.”

For patrol captain, Windbigler named Brent Long. Less than two years before, Long had received a four-day suspension for sending inappropriate emails to fellow officers. One email included gruesome photos of a man in another city who, while running from police, jumped or fell from an overpass and was decapitated on a wrought-iron fence.

Under Windbigler, Thayer and Long are not aberrations, according to a review of personnel files by the South Bend Tribune and ProPublica. Twenty-eight of the Elkhart Police Department’s 34 supervisors, from chief down to sergeant, have disciplinary records. The reasons range from carelessness to incompetence to serious, even criminal, misconduct. Fifteen of them have served suspensions, including Windbigler himself, who was once suspended for three days — and ordered to pay punitive damages in a federal lawsuit alleging excessive force.

Credit by - Pro Publica 

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