Evansville Police Force Embroiled in Misconduct Charges
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A patrolman faces charges that he fondled two dispatchers, bringing to three the number of city police officers disciplined this month for alleged misconduct.
Earlier, an officer was accused of drawing a picture of Ku Klux Klan members, and another officer allegedly made a bogus 911 call to cover up for male officers watching an adult video.
Police Chief David Gulledge is worried that the episodes have tarnished the police force's image.
"The actions of these police officers should not paint a picture of the entire department," Gulledge said at a news conference Tuesday. "Ninety-nine point five percent of the officers are dedicated, hardworking and eager to serve the citizens of Evansville."
In the latest case, Patrolman Frank Current allegedly fondled two city-county dispatchers while on duty. He faces misdemeanor battery charges and has been suspended from duty with pay. The charges carry a maximum 180-day jail sentence and $1,000 fine.
The activity happened March 12 but did not come to the department's attention until Tuesday, Gulledge said at a news conference.
Current is accused of touching the two female dispatchers about the same time at the City-County Dispatch Center. Current was at the dispatch center while taking a break during his shift.
Gulledge said witnesses allegedly saw the activity, and the dispatchers told a supervisor.
Current surrendered at the police department Tuesday. He posted $100 bond at the Vanderburgh County jail and was released.
Gulledge said that once the officer's criminal charges are settled in court, he would face internal disciplinary action. The matter would then go to the police department's Merit Commission.
Current's suspension with pay is consistent with police department policy for officers facing misdemeanor charges, Gulledge said. An officer is suspended without pay when charged with a felony.
Last week, the Merit Commission suspended Patrolman Brent Melton for three days without pay for allegedly sketching a picture depicting Ku Klux Klan members staring down a well at a black man.
Another suspended officer, Patrolman Jeff Breivogel, faces a misdemeanor charge of falsely reporting an incident. Breivogel is accused of making a 911 call about a bogus shooting on Feb. 27.
Breivogel allegedly made the call from a Fraternal Order of Police lodge so a female officer would not discover a group of male officers watching an adult video.