CARMEL. Ind. — The Carmel Police Department’s deputy chief has been suspended and removed from his leadership position after multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior, including groping and trying to kiss female coworkers.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard ordered an external investigation into Joe Bickel after learning of the multiple claims, according to a release from the city of Carmel.

Carmel Police Chief Jeff Horner has recommended to the Carmel Police Merit Board that Bickel be dismissed from the Carmel Police Department altogether.

Joe Bickel (Courtesy of Carmel Police)

“It is important that our employees, citizens and business owners have complete faith and trust in those who serve our community, especially those who are entrusted with our safety and security,” said Mayor Brainard in a release.

During the investigation, claims were uncovered that Bickel groped the breast of one female employee, tried to forcibly kiss a different female employee, and “kissed the hand and neck of another female employee at a work-related event.”

The former deputy chief is also accused of trying to use his position of authority to influence a CPD employee to violate a departmental standard operating procedure for the benefit of a family member. 

The State of Indiana’s Police Merit Law requires that Bickel retain his position with the department and his merit rank until a decision is made by the Carmel Police Merit Board.

“I fully support Chief Horner’s decision to recommend Bickel’s termination because doing so is necessary to maintain the integrity and reputation of our Carmel Police Department,” said Mayor Brainard.