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Police Chief Places Himself On Paid Leave, 6 News On Your Side
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Zionsville, IN

2010-11-24_INT_Police Chief Places Himself On Paid Leave
Zionsville Police Chief Rick Dowden

Dowden's Actions Under Microscope

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- Zionsville Police Chief Rick Dowden placed himself on paid administrative leave Wednesday while an Indiana State Police investigation of his actions as an official continues.

Dowden sent a memo to Town Manager Edward Mitro that said he didn't want the case to be a distraction to the department.

"It is my commitment to this community, these officers and the Town Council that causes me to take this leave," Dowden said. "I look forward to the conclusion of this investigation as quickly as possible and my return to the community service I have always selflessly given."

Dowden is the focus of an ISP investigation of allegations that he stole a TV from the department's evidence room and pulled a loaded, cocked gun on a group of officers.

State police served search warrants Friday on police headquarters and at Dowden's Zionsville home, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported Tuesday.

A state police investigator testified at a court hearing Friday that a confidential informant said this summer they saw Dowden and another police officer load the TV, which was evidence in a 2007 Boone County burglary case, into Dowden's police-issued cruiser and drive away.

Boone County Prosecutor Todd Meyer said investigators found the 50-inch plasma TV mounted on a wall in Dowden's home.

Investigators also served a search warrant for Dowden's service weapon Tuesday.

According to court records, Dowden drew the weapon from his holster during a meeting last week with a dozen officers at police headquarters after it became apparent that many of the officers were ignoring him.

"At that point, the chief unholstered his side arm and as he pulled it out, the gun, as it was coming up, would have crossed the plane or the chest areas of at least two officers," the informant is quoted in court records.

The chief then made noises simulating that the gun was being fired to get everyone's attention, the informant said.

"He had his jaws clenched and he was red-faced," he said. "He had the hammer on the firearm cocked back in the ready fire position as it came out of the holster."

"It's an ongoing investigation. We're cooperating fully," he said. "Anytime someone is investigated it gives us cause for concern. I'm also a strong proponent of presumed innocent."

Dowden has served as chief for four years.

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