On April 5, Chesterton Police Officer Aaron Miersma’s Indiana Army National
Guard unit is shipping out.
Miersma—hired by the CPD less than a year ago—is an infantryman with the
76th Brigade, whose destination and mission are for the moment not public
knowledge, for the reason of operational security.
But Miersma’s absence is going to stretch even tighter the CPD’s manpower,
already one officer down with the retirement earlier this year of Capt.
George Nelson, Police Chief Dave Cincoski told the Police Commission at its
meeting last week.
Cincoski accordingly asked for the commission’s authorization to seek an
“immediate hire” to fill Nelson’s slot in the roster. Members voted 3-0 so
to authorize him.
That authorization makes it possible to make a provisional offer of
employment to a qualified candidate: one who successfully passes a written
examination, the physical agility test, and a background exam; who has
graduated from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy; and who passes muster
with the commission in an interview.
It’s important to make the hire soon, Cincoski explained, because field
training takes 12 weeks and ideally the officer hired will be able to patrol
on his or her own as soon as Miersma ships out.
“Without the hire, the CPD would be seriously understaffed on patrol,”
New Squad Cars
In other business, the commission voted 3-0 to forward Cincoski’s request
for at least three new squad cars to the Town Council for action.
The low quote, for Dodge Chargers, Cincoski: around $24,000 per. The next
lowest, for Ford Explorers: $27,000 per. But Cincoski told the commission
that the CPD has been averaging around eight to nine miles per gallon with
its existing Chargers, compared to 15 to 16 mpg for the Explorers, and that
over the life time of the squad the Explorers would save the CPD around
$17,000 in fuel costs. With that in mind, Cincoski said, he will ask the
council to approve a request for at least three Explorers.
Cincoski described the Explorers—technically known as Ford Interceptor
Utilities—as good vehicles for police work, with six-cylinder engines and
All squad acquisitions are made with moneys from Cumulative Capital
Development fund, a fund with a dedicated property-tax rate and used
exclusively for the purchase of emergency vehicles and equipment.
On Monday, the council voted unanimously to approve Cincoski’s request for
four Explorers. Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson did ask the council’s
motion to reflect that, “taking into consideration all costs, (Lakeshore
Ford’s) quote for the Ford Explorers is the lowest responsive and
Meanwhile, the commission took receipt of a letter of gratitude from a
resident who, on Nov. 1, found her home visited by a bat. “I was scared and
panicked and didn’t know what to do, so I called 911,” the woman wrote.
Johnny on the spot were Officers Nick Christian and Troy Allen, who “spent
about 30 minutes catching the bat and getting it out of the house,” she
added. “I’m sure that this is not exactly in their job description but they
were absolutely kind, patient, and ready to help.”
Christian and Allen “made the bat incident slightly less awful and was a
great example of going beyond one’s immediate job to help someone.”
In November the
CPD responded to 1,567 calls (1,809 in October), filed 43 cases (57), filed
seven felony charges and 27 misdemeanor (20 and 47), issued 114 citations
and 374 warnings (115 and 382), served six warrants (eight), and
investigated 40 accidents with 12 injuries (31 accident with 10 injuries).
November, the CPD assigned 32 juvenile cases and closed 31 of them (31 and
28 in October).
service in November included 34 alarms (53 in October), nine animal
complaints (12), one report of a battery (five), one burglary (two), one
report of a counterfeit bill (one), 21 disturbances (19), two domestic calls
(one), three reports of fraud (two), 19 miscellaneous juvenile complaints
(11), one missing person (one), four parking violations (three), one peddler
complaint (two), three residence checks (five), one runaway (four), 46
suspicious circumstances (51), 25 suspicious persons (21), 13 suspicious
vehicles (21), 19 thefts (18), 517 traffic stops (537), one train complaint
(zero), six incidents of vandalism (21), and six vehicle repossessions