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