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Knightstown Town Council splits on former officer vote
Former Knightstown officer gets second chance, re-appointed to reserve force in 3-2 vote
9/22/2012 12:01:00 AM
KNIGHTSTOWN - A former Knightstown police officer was appointed to the reserve force Thursday night but not without a fight.
In a split decision, the Knightstown Town Council voted 3-2 to appoint former officer Jeremiah McIntyre and Keith Baker as reserve officers.
McIntyre resigned from the police department back in October only three months into the job for personal reasons. At the time, the council had begun an investigation into McIntyre for "alleged misconduct."
Reserve officers are not paid but council members like Tony True still opposed McIntyre's appointment.
"It's telling the public that 'Hey these guys can do what they want whenever they want to,'" he said.
True made a motion to table the appointment while a motion to appoint the officers was before the council. Council president Clyde South had to rule the motion to table out of order.
Councilman Mitch Roland came to McIntyre's defense.
"I think he deserves a second chance," Roland said. "Everyone accepted his apology. As far as the other incident, that's another hearsay, he said-she said deal."
McIntyre's misconduct offenses allegedly happened twice, causing True to not buy the second-chance argument.
"But when you are an officer you should always know you're above the average citizen," True said. "He's done it twice. We need to show the people that 'Hey, when you wear that badge it means something.'"
True cited testimony from Police Chief Danny Baker a year ago when Baker argued that McIntyre should not be appointed. But Baker changed his opinion.
"I did say that," Baker said. "I have had lengthy discussions with him since then. If I didn't think he deserved a second chance, I would not have recommended it. I honestly think he learned his lesson and I think he will make us a good officer if we give him another chance."
Baker said he made mistakes, too, in the past and would not be Knightstown's police chief if it were not for second chances.
"I've learn lessons from my mistakes," Baker said. "Even though we are police officers wearing a badge, we're still human. We will make mistakes."
True could be heard sighing after Baker's comment. South soon entered the conversation trying to get the council to come to a vote.
"Let's get the meeting back in order," South said.
Council members South, Roland and Cassandra Steele voted to appoint McIntyre, while True and Cort Swincher voted no.
Even though South voted yes, he wanted to reassure the council that there were stipulations on McIntyre's appointment and zero tolerance.
Knightstown has only three full-time officers and six part-time. The department has 10 reserves.
The other officer appointed, Keith Baker, is Baker's son. Due to Indiana nepotism laws he can not have a paid position in the department as long as his father is the chief.
In a phone interview, Baker expressed no ill will toward any of the council members that voted against the appointment of his son and McIntyre.
"If I had a grudge for every little thing we wouldn't get anything done in this department," Baker said.
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