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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Bedford Board of Works approves new hiring policy for Bedford Police Department

BEDFORD - OCTOBER 19,2023 - The Bedford Board of Works approved the Lateral Officer Transfer bonus policy and procedure like many police departments across the state have.

File photo

Bedford Police Department like all police departments have faced a revolving door of police officers who no longer want to face public scrutiny or the stress of the job.

Bedford Police Department has faced its fair share of legal issues with officers who have been charged with crimes and civil lawsuits.

The Bedford Police Department is currently down three officers following their resignations two due to officers leaving for other police departments and another who chose a career change.

Four other police officers were placed on administrative leave following a officer involved shooting on Western Avenue September 28th.

According to Chief Terry Moore, it took the department more than year to hire a police officer from the last vacancy. The new policy will allow a officer from another department who is already trained to join the department. The process will be expediated.

The city will use $100,000 from the current budget to fund the positions if they locate a qualified candidate or candidates. Part of the remaining funds will be used for overtime, while officers cover the shortage of officers.

Several former and current police officers are named in lawsuits as well as Bedford Police Chief Terry Moore.

On January 23, 2023 a civil suit names former Bedford Police officer Morgan Lee, Bedford Police Officer Chase Hamilton, and Clay Blackburn following an incident on January 8,2021 at a residence located at 510 H Street.

Tyler Barton, Bedford has filed a lawsuit against the officers resulting from the battery from Bedford Police Officer who was later convicted and terminated from the Bedford Police department.

A civil lawsuit by the family of Harold Wilson 89, is being appealed which was filed against Bedford Police officers Michael Bell, Nicholas Crulo, and Bedford Police Department January 27, 2023.

This came after Bedford Police stopped the wrong way driver on the morning of April 19, 2023. The 89 year old was found dead in Washington County after a Silver Alert was issued by the Jackson County Sheriff's Department later that morning. Wilson found near a creek deceased. The lawsuit says the two officer knew or should have known the inaction on their part could lead to harm to Wilson.

That lawsuit was dismissed by Lawrence County Circuit Judge Nathan Nikirk stating the officers are immune from lawsuit by Indiana law while performing their duty.

Four officers which include Sgt. Toby Gerkin, Clay Blackburn, Nick Crulo, and Brent Tompkins were placed on administrative leave following the officer involved shooting that happened on September 28,2023.

This practice is standard in incidents like this.

Sgt. Gerkin is expected to return to duty next week, after he had no involvement in the shooting.

Both Lawrence County Sheriffs Department and Bedford Police Department have faced the same hiring challenges.

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