Fishers police chief steps down after arrest for OWI


Mitch Thompson

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UPDATE (Oct. 16, 2018) — Mitch Thompson pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while intoxicated endangering a person. A separate drunk-driving charge was dropped as part of his plea deal. He was sentenced to 365 days in jail, with the bulk of the sentence suspended. His driver’s license was suspended for 90 days retroactive to Aug. 1. His sentence will include probation, random drug and alcohol testing and a prohibition on alcohol consumption.

FISHERS, Ind.– Fishers Police Department Chief Mitch Thompson submitted his resignation from his position as chief Monday following an arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

Thompson was arrested Friday night after a crash on North Keystone Avenue just before 11 p.m. He was initially placed on administrative leave.

On Monday, Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said he and Thompson agreed that he should step down. Fadness issued this statement:

“Today, Chief Thompson and I met and both agree that he must step down as Chief of Police, effective immediately. The events that transpired Friday evening regarding the motor vehicle accident that Chief Thompson was involved in has made his position of leadership untenable. In the coming days, Officer Thompson will be subjected to the statutory disciplinary process afforded public safety personnel under the Merit Commission. It is my expectation that this process will be professional, transparent, and judicious. Please keep the victims of the accident as well as our police department in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward.”

In his resignation letter, Thompson said he recognizes he is “no longer able to effectively lead the agency that I love.”

He expressed regret for his actions and apologized to Fishers police as well as residents. Thompson said he’ll cooperate with investigators and continue to “serve the agency in whatever capacity the future may hold.”

IMPD is investigating the crash and will pass along their findings to prosecutors.

“It’s sad to hear that someone in that position has decided to take an act like that that can severely affect themself and the community,” Fishers resident Eric Hurst said.

“I feel like people of that power should be held to a higher standard,” Fishers resident Meghan Hetzner said.

News of Thompson’s arrest came as a shock to some residents. Thompson has served on the force since 1991 and as chief since 2016.

“He took a position to make sure that his officers and everybody keeps our community safe and yet he made the choice to drive impaired, so very upsetting,” Pam Kelshaw said.

Kelshaw, the MADD Indiana program coordinator and a Fishers resident, knows the impact of impaired driving first hand. She lost her teenage daughter, Silina, and nephew, Jesse, to impaired drivers.

“I just hope that the person who’s taking over as chief now will really talk to his police officers and let them know the impact of what happened and that it could have been worse,” Kelshaw said.

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