Chesterton Tribune



Porter resident: CPD Facebook manhunt notification not timely enough

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So far as Brian Marx is concerned, the Chesterton Police Department could have done a better job keeping folks in Chesterton and Porter updated on the possible whereabouts of the person of interest who became the focus of a manhunt on Thursday, Aug. 29, following reports of shots fired on Ind. 49.

Marx brought his complaint to the Police Commission at its meeting Thursday evening, repeating what he told the Town Council at its meeting Monday night. “I’m concerned about the notification that there was a fugitive with a gun running around,” he said, and added that he was especially troubled because his daughter works nights at Indiana Dunes State Park. “I think a lot of other people were concerned. We’d like to know if there’s a guy running around our streets with a gun.”

Specifically, Marx said, only around 7 p.m. Aug. 29, more than 12 hours after the manhunt began and while the person of interest was still at large--he was taken into custody about 90 minutes later, in Michigan City--did the CPD finally post to its Facebook page the statement released to the press earlier that day.

Nevertheless, Marx said, around 2:30 p.m. Aug. 29 the operator of the CPD Facebook page did upload a humorous post. “Obviously someone had time to post that.”

And though, Marx noted, the Discovery Charter School was notified of the incident, “I think the rest of us deserve to know. I think that the citizens deserve a little more information.”

Police Chief Dave Cincoski, for his part, agreed that the CPD could have handled the notification differently. And while the investigation remains open and at this time there isn’t much he can say about it unless and until the person of interest is formally charged, Cincoski did say that on the day of Aug. 29 all information on the ground pointed to the person of interest’s moving east, away from Chesterton and Porter and in the direction of Michigan City. “I chose not to notify Chesterton because there was every indication that he wasn’t in this area. We had substantial information that he was due east on Indiana Dunes National Park and Indiana Dune State Park property. Every time he was dealt with it was on that property and those jurisdictions were notified.”

The Chesterton Tribune can confirm that by mid-morning on Aug. 29, employees both of the National Park Service and those of the U.S. Geological Survey--which operates a station in the old visitor center at U.S. Highway 12 and Kemil Road--had been notified of the manhunt and were advised to stay indoors.

“A press release went out late that morning,” Cincoski noted. “Late that afternoon I was contacted by the officer who runs the Facebook page and I told him not to post it because I didn’t want to cause undue concern in Chesterton. We knew he was well east of here. Then, on second thought, I told the officer to run it.”

But by then, Cincoski said--with solid information that the person of interest was well east of Duneland--the original press release was stale and could have given the impression that he was still in the area. “That press release was not tempered by updated information. For that I take responsibility.”

The members of the Police Commission thanked Marx for speaking to them. “I truly understand your concern,” Pete Duda said. “That really hits home. Thank you for your concern. Thank you for showing up tonight. You have valid points.”



Posted 9/16/2019




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