Zionsville police chief subject of ISP probe

LIN Television Corporation, WTSHTV8, wishtv.com
BYLINE: Gene Rodriguez
Link to Article

Zionsville, IN

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) - Another central Indiana law enforcement official is under investigation. But 24-Hour News 8 has learned he is still on the job and worked today. The Boone County prosecutor is working with Indiana State Police on the investigation of the Zionsville police chief.

24-Hour News 8 obtained the transcripts of a court hearing where a judge granted the prosecutor’s request to search the Zionsville Police Department and the home of Zionsville Police Chief Rick Dowden. According to those documents, investigators were looking for a 50-inch TV, evidence in a string of burglary cases, and Dowden’s sidearm, a semi-automatic handgun.

The Indiana State Police and the Boone County Prosecutor’s Officer are investigating a couple of allegations against Chief Dowden. But the most serious is whether Dowden took evidence from the police department.

24-Hour News 8 tried to talk to Chief Dowden during a visit to the Zionsville Police Department. We were told Chief Dowden would not be commenting. Instead, Town Manager Ed Mitro commented. He said that until charges were filed against Chief Dowden, the chief would remain in his position as chief of Zionsville Police.

According to the warrant hearing transcript, earlier this year Dowden took a 50-inch TV that was evidence recovered from a string of burglaries back in 2007 in a Zionsville neighborhood. It wasn’t until the DNA evidence in the burglaries got a hit this year that police finally made an arrest. That TV was where investigators found the DNA evidence that led to their suspect. An informant in the case against Dowden says the TV was last seen in Dowden’s home. Friday night police searched his home and the Zionsville Police Department.

Investigators were also searching for Dowden's sidearm, a .45 caliber handgun. Investigators want the gun because there is an allegation that Dowden raised and cocked the gun during a meeting with Zionsville police officers on Nov. 9. According the informant, Dowden was angry that no one was paying attention to him during a meeting and he pulled the handgun from his holster to get everyone's attention. The informant says the gun was loaded and the chief made noises simulating gunshots.

The Boone County Prosecutor would not comment on camera about the case but says during the investigation his office will cooperate with Indiana State Police. If charges are filed against Dowden, Prosecutor Todd Myer says he will request a special prosecutor to handle the case.

In the meantime, there is other evidence linking the burglary suspect to the string of burglaries in 2007 and the case against him is pending.

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