Chesterton Tribune


County officer suspended after traffic stop in town

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A Porter County Sheriff’s Police officer has been suspended 15 days without pay, after being stopped last month by a Chesterton Police officer for a traffic violation while driving an unmarked county vehicle.

Sheriff Dave Lain declined to identify the officer because he is currently assigned to undercover duties.

Lain told the Chesterton Tribune today that he suspended the officer specifically for “conduct unbecoming an officer” and for a violation of PCSP regulations governing the use of a county vehicle.

The PCSP launched an internal investigation on Aug. 29, Lain said, after he was contacted by a CPD officer who said that the county officer had been stopped at night for driving without headlights. “The CPD officer apparently had concerns about the county officer’s ability to drive.”

No field sobriety or portable breath tests were conducted, however, and the CPD officer “elected to arrange a ride home for the county officer,” Lain said.

Chesterton Police Chief Dave Cincoski was not immediately available for comment this morning.

The county officer did subsequently admit violating PCSP regulations governing the use of a county vehicle but said that he wasn’t under the influence when stopped, Lain said.

“By the time we were informed of this taking place,” Lain added, “there was no evidence to review.”

Lain did say that the county officer was alone in the vehicle at the time he was stopped.

Lain said that the 15-day unpaid suspension is the maximum penalty he could enforce without going before the Sheriff’s Merit Board. “I didn’t feel that was necessary in this case.”

In addition, the officer is suspended from participating in any of the PCSP’s “specialty teams for a minimum of six months,” Lain said. He noted that the officer, when all is said and done, “will be $3,000 out of pocket.”

Whether the officer will resume his undercover duties, on returning to work, “remains to be seen,” Lain also said.



Posted 9/28/2012