Chesterton Tribune

Craig Barnes to lead Burns Harbor Police

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By PAULENE POPARAD

“You’re not a corporal any more.”

With those words outgoing town marshal Jerry Price pinned his chief’s badge on Craig Barnes’ uniform following his unanimous appointment by the Burns Harbor Town Council to lead the department.

Price told Barnes the town marshal’s badge weighs exactly the same as a deputy’s badge, “but the responsibility it carries will weigh more heavily. Believe in your guys (and) believe in the people of this town. You’re nothing without them.”

Barnes’ wife Jennifer pinned the additional stars on his uniform during Thursday night’s ceremony.

Price told Barnes he will be called upon to be a confidant, big brother and protector. “Make us all proud of you. I know you will.” The 19 residents, family and friends in the audience gave Barnes a standing ovation.

Council president Jim McGee, Police Department liaison, told Barnes, “It’s my pleasure the council chose you to be chief and take us into the future with our growth, and we’ll assist you.”

Price’s retirement from the force is effective Jan. 31 but he will continue to receive vacation pay and benefits through Feb. 29.

The council also voted 5-0 to hire Adam Zosso as a full-time patrolman. He’s worked part-time for Burns Harbor since 2008 and has worked for Portage beginning in 2004. Price gave Zosso his Unit 5 department designation that Price has held since joining Burns Harbor’s ranks in 1983.

Zosso will start at a first-class patrolman’s wage rate although the six-month probationary period still applies.

The night’s third hire was Robert Wesley of Porter as a full-time laborer with Burns Harbor’s Street/Sanitation Departments. More than 30 people applied for the job. It tentatively was agreed 60 percent of Wesley’s wages will be paid by the Sanitary Board, the balance by the Town Council.

After the meeting Barnes said he’s worked either full or part-time for Burns Harbor for six years and has been involved in law enforcement since 1998. Of the department he’ll now lead, “We have a great team,” said Barnes. “All the officers are top notch.”

The town is growing and the Police Department will change to meet those needs including additional training for officers, said Barnes, who indicated he has a long list of goals. “There’s probably three times the residents now than before. I’d like to do more community activities and resurrect the Crimewatch program."

1/27/2012