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Police Chief Resigns In Midst Of Criminal Probe

6 News on Your Side, The Indy Channel, theindychannel.com
BYLINE: Jack Rinehart
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Zionsville, IN

Dowden Steps Down 'To Pursue Another Opportunity'

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. -- The resignation of Zionsville Police Chief Rick Dowden was announced at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting Wednesday morning, along with a recommendation that another officer be promoted to chief.

Dowden had been at the center of an investigation of the handling of evidence within the department, 6News' Jack Rinehart reported.

"I have decided to retire from law enforcement … to pursue another opportunity in the private sector," Dowden said in a letter sent Tuesday evening. "I appreciate the opportunity to serve the community I have called home for nearly 40 years and wish the community and the Police Department well in the future."

Dowden and five other officers, including Capt. Rob Knox, who the board recommended to replace Dowden as chief, were disciplined over the handling of evidence in the property room.

"It's best for everyone," said Ed Mitro, town manager, referring to Dowden's resignation.

Dowden placed himself on paid administrative leave in November after an allegation that he stole a TV from the department's evidence room and pulled a loaded, cocked gun on a group of officers. There were also allegations of an improper sale of a vehicle that Zionsville police recovered.

Dowden returned to his job in February, and no criminal charges were immediately filed.

A special prosecutor has been working on the case, and Zionsville officials previously obtained a private law firm to review the policies and procedures of the Police Department.

The board recommended that Knox undergo training related to his involvement in the handling of evidence. He will become the chief if the Zionsville Town Council affirms him at an Aug. 5 meeting.

"During the past several years, Capt. Knox has suspected or has known about several violations of town and departmental policies regarding the handling and documentation of evidence," said Asheesh Agarwal, an attorney who represents Zionsville. "Capt. Knox, however, failed to report these violations to the town or take other corrective action."

Capt. Doug Gauthier, Detective Charles White and Officer Thomas Henthorn were punished with an unpaid suspension of five days. Officer Tessa Potts received a written reprimand.

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