The Herald Bulletin

October 17, 2013

Elwood police union publicly denounces mayor in press release

By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin

ELWOOD, Ind. —

The Fraternal Order of Police gave Mayor Ron Arnold a “vote of no confidence,” according to a press release from the police union on Thursday.

The union was critical of several aspects of Arnold’s administration and accused him of threatening to fire police without cause and favoritism.

The release reads that on Jan. 1, 2012, when Arnold took office, Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna told Elwood officers at a meeting that there was a list of police that Arnold wanted fired, and that he would fire them without care for due process.

The release goes on to read that throughout 2012 and 2013, some police were threatened with being fired for disagreeing with Arnold’s administration.

“On Feb. 6, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 82 took a vote of no confidence against Mayor Arnold ... On Feb. 7, Arnold heard of the vote of no confidence against him, and sent the following message to city department heads, ‘I am not approving any spending for the police department. All purchases must go through me before they can actually be purchased. Thanks.’ Due to this order and employees jobs being threatened, the FOP refrained from presenting this vote of no confidence to the public,” the release reads.

The release concludes by indicating that Arnold’s procedures have created a police department “where morale is low and a perception of never-ending favoritism with certain employees is creating an environment of fear.”

On Thursday, Hanna said he’s seen the release and confirmed he had the meeting with the department in 2012, but the tone was not negative, and that many good things have happened under Arnold’s leadership.

Body Copy:“I don’t understand how they’re giving a vote of no confidence,” Hanna said. “Last year, for the first time in many years, everyone in the department received a raise, and we’re working on that happening again this year. We’ve worked on getting new or at least better police cars for everyone. We’ve gone from one detective to two. We’ve gone from two dogs to three. We’ve expanded the force and working on expanding it again. And all of this has happened with Mayor Arnold’s blessing. He’s never asked for favoritism.”

Body Copy:Arnold could not be reached for comment about the release on Thursday. Elwood public information officer Jeff Howe said neither he nor Arnold had seen the release, and the office would decline to comment.

The letter was the third recent criticism of Arnold and Hanna through public forums.

On Oct. 7 at the monthly City Council meeting, a woman who addressed the council said she publicly requested the resignation of Hanna and Arnold in light of several recent incidents, most notably an investigation of Arnold by Indiana State Police. On Oct. 9, Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings directed Elwood Police Department to hand off any future investigations of Arnold or his family to other police agencies such as ISP or Madison County Sheriff’s Department. This came on the heels of an investigation of child neglect involving the mayor’s son, Tyler, 20.

Body Copy:Howe said Arnold had read the letter from Cummings and is working on a public response. He said The Herald Bulletin would be informed when the response becomes available.

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