Refusing to “do illegal, unethical and immoral things,” while on duty, the entire police force in the small town of Bunker Hill, Indiana, quit their jobs last week.
Blaming major differences and the poor communication that they had with administrators within the town council, officers serving with the Bunker Hill Police Department also pointed to a major shortage in gear – and requests made by officials to act illegally, unethically and immorally while performing their duty – as reasons for leaving.
“We have had issues with the town board, and there are some activities there where I felt like they were serving their own agenda,” former Bunker Hill Town Marshal Michael Thomison, who had served the community for four years, told WXIN-TV. “They would not communicate with us or the officers, and they kept scaling back.”
Not in the call of duty …
As they tuned in their badges, all of the police officers stressed that they had been ordered to conduct their jobs in ways that compromised both their integrity as law enforcement officers and as private citizens.
“When each of the officers tendered their letters of resignation, they all noted the ‘illegal, unethical, and immoral things’ they were asked to do,” TheBlaze reported. “The cops cited examples, such as being asked to run background checks on their town councilors to determine their criminal history – a request the officers said led to threats if they weren’t acted upon.”
Safety issues that put the officers’ lives in peril were also mentioned, such as having to share just one set of body armor between them so that they were left vulnerable during potentially dangerous encounters, including serving warrants and making arrests.
“I did not want to send someone out there with bad body armor, so I would take mine off and provide it to the other officers,” Thomison explained. “I told them we have to provide this – there is an [Indiana] code that explains that and says that the town has to provide that body armor.”
Above and beyond the aforementioned complaints, the treatment that Thomison received due to an illness was the final turning point.
“Last year, he was diagnosed with cancer, but when he was ready to return to work in May, the town would only allow him to return on a part-time basis,” TheBlaze’s Goins-Phillips divulged.
The disgruntled officer is now preparing to sue the Bunker Hill town councilors over the matter.
“They came at me and said it is costing the town way too much money because of my insurance, and they said, ‘We are taking you down to part-time,'” Thomison added.
The former town marshal explained that all of the other officers on the town’s police force quit their jobs, as well – not because they wanted to, but because they believed it was the right thing for them to do.
As a result of all of its law enforcement officers stepping down, Bunker Hill has had to utilize neighboring police officers to fill in while new officers are being sought to fill the void.
Still in shock
When asked about the group resignation, Town Council President Brock Speer expressed to Fox News that everyone quitting at the same time “blindsided” him.
But despite their surprise and the bind that the officer’s cumulative resignation put them in, members of the Bunker Hill Town Council accepted the letters with little to no comment given anyone on the force.
Unpopular all around
Bunker Hill’s administrators have gotten under the skin of many people within the small town -- besides the police force.
“Citing personal reasons, Council Vice President Jim Panther submitted his resignation from the board, which will take effect at the end of the year,” Goins-Phillips informed. “[A]nd Bunker Hill Building Commissioner Bill Gornto’s resignation leaves the town without a building department.”
Gornto’s resignation letter explained that members of the town council made his work situation intolerable.
“Due to the actions of the current town council, I find myself unable to continue in this job,” Gornto wrote. “This means you now have to notify the state building department that you no longer have a valid department.”
Until new police officers are recruited to take the place of the resigned police force, Bunker Hill got the assurance of Miami County Sheriff Tim Miller that his deputies will keep the plagued town safe as it searches for a new town marshal.