ANDERSON — A majority of the Anderson City Council believe the removal of Tony Watters as the chief of police was the right decision by Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr.
It was announced Tuesday that Broderick removed Watters as the chief of police with an effective date of Sunday.
Watters returns to his rank as detective, the position he previously held before being promoted to chief in 2016. He has been a member of the Anderson Police Department for more than three decades.
Broderick as of Wednesday has not named an interim police chief. Mark Cole is currently the assistant chief over the Non-Uniform Division, Jake Brown is the assistant chief over the Uniform Division and Warren Warren is assistant chief for Community Policing.
Both Republican and Democratic members of the city council Wednesday indicated support for the mayor’s action along with Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings.
The demotion of Watters came after Broderick was provided with a supplemental report prepared by the Indiana State Police following the arrest of the chief’s son, Adam, in June. Adam Watters is currently facing criminal charges for an alleged domestic violence situation.
The ISP report was first made available by Cummings to City Council President Rebecca Crumes on Friday and a copy was delivered to Broderick on Monday.
“I had questions,” Crumes said Wednesday. “Those questions seem to have been answered. The ball was in the mayor’s court.”
Councilman Jon Bell, R-3rd District, a former member of the Anderson Police Department, said it was unfortunate for Watters on a personal level.
“But it was good for the community,” he said. “It will boost the morale of the department and return professionalism of our public safety.”
Bell said he would like to see a bipartisan, multi-faceted search committee named to appoint the next chief of police.
Councilman Joe Newman, D-6th District, said he had not received a copy of the ISP report.
“Based on the reasonableness of the mayor, I believe it was warranted,” he said.
Councilwoman Jennifer Culp, R-1st District, said she thought it was a good decision by the mayor.
“We can’t have the questionable decisions that have been made over the past few years,” she said. “They (administration) kept acting like nothing was going on.”
Culp said she wants to see the Anderson Police Department be the best possible.
“I hate to see this for the department,” she said. “We want the police department to be the best possible for the community.”
Councilman Ty Bibbs, D-at large, said the final decision was up to the mayor.
“Considering the ramifications of the report, I thought it was the best decision,” he said.
Cummings called the action by Broderick the right decision.
“It probably should have taken place months ago,” he said.
When asked about Watters disputing the allegations in the ISP report, which the chief called “inaccurate and fabricated,” Cummings said there was no truth to Watters’ comments and were an insult.
“These were respected and experienced Indiana State Police officers and two of them were supervisors,” he said. “It’s comical.”