Chesterton Tribune

George Nelson resigns as chief of Chesterton Police

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By KEVIN NEVERS

Chesterton Police Chief George Nelson is stepping down as soon as a successor can be found.

Nelson submitted his letter of resignation to the Police Commission at its meeting Wednesday evening.

Nelson emphasized that he is not leaving the CPD—in 2012 he will turn 60, the mandatory retirement age—but that “it is in the best interests of the Police Department and the Town of Chesterton to begin the process of transition to the next generation of leadership” now.

“I am not retiring from the department, just stepping down as chief,” his letter reads in part. “I wish to continue with the Chesterton Police Department in whatever capacity is deemed appropriate. The department has a large number of officers who have the potential for leadership within the agency. . . . I believe the town is fortunate to have officers who can move up the chain of command within the agency. Naturally, it is up to the Police Commissioners as to whether they wish to accept applications from candidates outside the department. . . I look forward to working with you so that the new chief can have an orderly transition over the next two-plus years prior to my retirement.”

Members voted 2-0 to accept Nelson’s resignation, then agreed by consensus to begin the search for a successor within the CPD. “I believe we should look inside the department first but keep our options open,” Member Nick Walters said. “We can go outside if a good candidate is not found in the CPD.”

The commission further agreed to accept applications from CPD officers for the next four weeks, beginning today, then to close the application period and begin reviewing candidates.

The process at the moment is somewhat complicated by the unexpected resignation from the commission earlier this week of Member Steve Brickner. At its meeting Monday night the Town Council agreed to accept applications from residents interested in Brickner’s seat until 4:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 25.

Nelson has served with the CPD for nearly 37 years and as chief for nearly 20 years.

“I would like to first of all thank Chief Nelson for getting us where we are now,” Town Council Member and CPD liaison Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, said. “Nineteen years. I wish I could have been here all those 19 years. I’ve gotten to know Chief Nelson pretty well and I’ve got more to learn from him.”

“I want to see Chief Nelson have a prominent position in the department at the same rate of pay he is making now,” DeLaney added.

New SOP

In other business, the commission took receipt of a new Standard Operating Procedure which, as Nelson put it, “fleshes out” the position of captain currently codified by the CPD Rules and Regulations.

The SOP: “The chief may assign as needed one member of the department to the position of captain who is to act as the assistant chief of police. The captain may also be assigned as a division commander and shall perform the duties of the division assigned by the chief and in accordance with Rules and Regulations. The captain shall be a member of the Command Staff and may act in the place of the chief as directed by the chief. The captain may also be assigned the duties of assisting the chief with internal investigations and provide recommendations for actions in accordance with department Rules and Regulations. This position of captain shall be filled at the determination of the chief of police.”

 

Posted 1/14/2010