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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Oolitic Town Marshal files whistle blower complaint with the Indiana Dept. of Labor

OOLITIC - JANUARY 15, 2024 - Oolitic Town Marshal has filed a Whistle Blower complaint with the Indiana Department of Labor.



The complaint was filed after the Oolitic Town Council in a 3-1 vote placed the Oolitic Town Marshal James Harrington on paid administrative leave on January 8, 2024.


Harrington maintains the workplace has got hostile after expressing concerns about town employees and town council member drinking alcohol and operating town equipment while on duty for the town. ( It should be noted there no arrests were made by Marshal Harrington for public intoxication or Operating While Intoxicated. These are only allegations made by the town marshal.)


Photo: James Harrington was placed on administrative leave and has filed a whistle blower complaint with the Indiana Department of Labor


In addition, Harrington maintains that a town council member talked about his personal finances during a public town council meeting.


Town Marshal Harrington was hired in December 2021 following the retirement of longtime Ooilitc Town Marshal Jon Jefferies.


However, over time residents of the small southern Indiana town started becoming concerned that the town marshal was on patrol outside the town more often than not.


The town marshal was responding to drug stops with his K-9 Deny throughout Lawrence County and one drug stop in Monroe County, in his two years as marshal.


Taxpayers have felt they are paying for a marshal for the town of Oolitic. The Town of Oolitic has not been compensated for services to the other agencies or drug interdiction from the Lawrence County Prosecutors office.


Town residents maintain that in the end emergencies could happen in the Town of Oolitic and the Marshal is in other parts of Lawrence County many minutes away from the town.


In a December Oolitic Town Council meeting the town council voted to end the K-9 program with town council members Brenda Corey, Jon Broglin, and Johny " Bob " Dillion to end the K-9 program and Steve Kerr voting to keep the program.


The town council says there was excessive costs after a new police vehicle was damaged twice, insurance costs and increase in fuel costs as the reasons to end the program.


What landed Marshal Harrington in hot water with the town council and leading up to his administrative leave was after their vote to end the program his K-9 was used in a traffic stop in the Town of Oolitic.


Photo: Several law enforcement agencies respond to Ooltic Town Hall following a fight that broke out between a town employee and town Marshal James Harrington


Lawrence County Zephyr has obtained a copy of the " Whistle Blower" complaint which is listed below:



"On Thursday 01/04/2024, I learnt from a mass e-mail that was sent by Oolitic town councilman Jon Broglin, that the Oolitic town council would be holding a special meeting at 3:45 pm on Monday 01/08/2024, to discuss placing me on paid administrative leave. I called councilman Broglin, I inquired about why the council wanted to place me on administrative leave, and he eventually stated that they want me to resign from the Oolitic Marshal's Office, because I disobeyed a direct order, when I utilized my canine partner Deny Joe on a traffic stop, after the council voted to end the Marshal’s Office’s canine program.


I asked councilman Broglin if he asked any of the other town council members, if I asked for their permission before I used Deny, and he stated that he did not. I explained to him that I called Oolitic town councilman Steve Kerr, and I advised him that two Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Deputies and I were sitting across from Casey’s General Store, and we observed some suspected drug users pull into Casey’s parking lot, and we didn’t have a canine available in case we stopped one of them, because the council voted to eliminate the canine program.


Councilman Kerr stated that I could still use my canine because the council didn’t vote to eliminate the program, they only voted to stop supporting the program, and he told me to go get Deny and use him.


After concluding the conversation with councilman Broglin, I spoke with Bill Raines from the Lawrence County Zephyr, and I informed him about what transpired on the evening of Tuesday 01/02/2024, and we discussed several other issues involving Oolitic town council members and or Oolitic town employees, and some of the issues that we discussed are as follows. It was brought to my attention by at least two Oolitic residents, that councilman Broglin was driving around town with an open beer in the center console of his vehicle while the storm water project was going on, and when councilman Broglin spoke with both of the individuals they noticed that his eyes were glassy, red, and watery, and an odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage was emitting from councilman Broglin’s exhaled breath. In the middle to late parts of 2023, I assisted Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Deputies with calls involving domestic violence issues, and two Oolitic town employees (Christopher Collins and Michael Collins whom are brothers) attempted to interfere with the investigations.


One of the investigations involved Michael Collins whom was suspected of committing domestic battery in the presence of a minor, when he allegedly battered his wife, and Michael interfered with the investigation. The other investigation involved Christopher's and Michael's father or stepfather, whom was suspected of battering Christopher's and Michael's mother or stepmother, and Christopher interfered with the investigation. I reported both incidents to all members of the Oolitic town council and they refused to take action against Christopher and Michael. In the summer of 2023 when the Town of Oolitc experienced a water main break, I stopped at the site of the water main break, and former Oolitic town council president Tangie Franklin Jenkins, councilman Kerr, and councilman Broglin were present at the site as well. Councilman Broglin was assisting Oolitic town employees (Christopher Collins, Michael Collins, and Wesley Tipton) with repairing the break, and this included councilman Broglin using heavy equipment.


While I was speaking councilman Broglin, I noticed that his eyes were glassy, red, and watery, his speech was slurred, and I smelled an odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage emitting from his exhaled breath. I informed councilman Broglin that he could be arrested for operating while intoxicated (OWI) if he continued to operate the heavy equipment in his impaired state, and he could be arrested for OWI if he drove his vehicle from the work site. I went to Oolitic town councilman Johnny Bob Dillon’s residence, I informed him about what transpired, and I observed councilman Broglin pull into his (councilman Broglin’s) driveway while I was speaking with councilman Dillon. On Monday 10/30/2023, I received a telephone call from Wesley Tipton (Oolitic street superintendent) shortly after I assisted LCSO Deputies Shaun Cabral and Brenten Trueblood, with serving an arrest warrant on Michael Collins for criminal recklessness with a vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. Wesley threatened to kill me and he stated that I would have to shoot him to get him out of his vehicle.


Deputy Cabral, Deputy Trueblood, and I encountered Wesley in front of the Oolitic town hall, and he attempted to attack us. At which time, I sprayed Wesley with OC spray and I tackled him to the ground. Wesley resisted our efforts several times to place him in custody, and Deputy Trueblood tased Wesley at least twice, before we were finally able to handcuff him and take him into custody. We immediately started decontaminating Wesley and we had IU Health Lifeline EMS dispatched to our location. An odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage was emitting from Wesley's exhaled breath, and he admitted that he consumed alcoholic beverages and smoked Marijuana, prior to him driving his Town of Oolitic issued truck to the town hall. While we were waiting for EMS, councilman Broglin arrived at the town hall in his personal vehicle, he attempted to interfere with law enforcement by telling us that we weren't going to arrest Wesley, and he threatened to terminate all of the Town of Oolitic's employees.


Councilman Broglin's eyes were glassy, red, and watery, and an odor commonly associated with an alcoholic beverage was emitting from councilman Broglin’s exhaled breath. I learnt that Councilman Dillon told several people that I was having an inappropriate sexual relationship with former town council president Jenkins, and he released my personal financial history on social media without my consent on or about Monday 11/27/2023.


I confronted Councilman Dillon about his accusations and him releasing my financial history without my consent, and on Monday 12/18/2023 councilman Dillon made the motion to eliminate the Marshal’s Office’s canine program, and I was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday 01/08/2024 during the special meeting. I think that it's also important to note, that none of the Oolitic town council members reached out to me after the town council meeting on 12/18/2023 and prior to me returning from vacation on 01/02/2024, to advise me that they voted to eliminate the Marshal's Office's canine program, and I feel like I've been unjustly targeted and discriminated against because I addressed the above mentioned issues with the Oolitic town council and the town's employees,"


After the special meeting last week Oolitic Town Council they could not release a statement or talk to the media on the matter.


Lawrence County Zephyr will be monitoring developments on this developing news story.


For breaking news and information go to lczephyr.org or like/follow the Lawrence County Zephyr Facebook page.


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3 Comments


kammyjaggers
Jan 17

If in fact Mr Harrison observed a crime being committed by counsel man Mr Broglin they WHY did the MARSHALL up hold his oath to the PEOPLE of Oolitic and follow the same procedures he would have to any other individual?...He (Harrison) chose to sweep it under the rug or it is a straight lie,new counsel is not needed,they are LISTENING to the PEOPLE of Oolitic and taking steps to fix the issue, town Marshall should stay with in Oolitic limits to serve and protect the people he has sworn to protect and serve..that simple! IF HE WANTED TO BE ON A K-9 u unit or the state police or county or city of Bedford then why does Harrison not…

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Caleb Bay
Caleb Bay
Jan 16

Pam must be unaware of the other marshals in Oolitic or simply unappreciative of their efforts. It was entirely possible for him to work within the confines of his job description HE decided he didn’t want to.

That complaint is yata yata yata waste of time. It will go nowhere and has no teeth.

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Pamela Underwood
Jan 15

I am not s resident of Oolitic, and I am glad. Sounds like the town council is okay with drugs in the community, and I cannot believe anyone thinks it is alright to be drinking on the job! They should all lose their jobs and go to jail! Sounds like you all need a new town council! Shame on all of you!

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