Next Muncie police chief focused on transparency, building community relationships

Politics
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MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Muncie Police Department's new chief and deputy chief are preparing to take over this January and will be taking on the roles in the midst of a FBI investigation into the department and an excessive force lawsuit.

But the newly appointed chief, Nathan Sloan, said he is confident in the way his department will operate moving forward.

"We'd like to focus on our credibility and our accountability and really transparency also," Sloan said.

Late this year, Mayor-Elect Dan Ridenour named Sloan to Muncie police's top seat. Sloan has devoted nearly two decades to MPD. He's worked as a patrolman and has more than a decade of experience with the drug task force.

"We really want to get a better working relationship with the public, reach back out to maybe some areas that have been neglected in the past and rebuild some bridges that have maybe been damaged in the past," said Sloan.

Sloan said he's concerned with strong community relationships and solving crimes. Sloan served for years as a detective and even won some awards for his work.

"Because if people can't trust us to tell us the truth about what happens, then we can't be expected to solve very much," Sloan said. "So, we really have to have those relationships in place."

Sloan is well aware of the challenges in front of him, including the FBI's investigation into illegal background checks on a councilwoman's opponent. There's also a federal excessive force lawsuit that names a couple of officers – including the former chief’s son.

"We haven't been here long enough to comment on that just yet," Sloan said. "I mean, we're trying to get our head wrapped around the organization of the department, and we're going to be moving into those areas soon. But we haven't had the opportunity to review all the ends and outs of that just yet."

Sloan's number two is MPD veteran officer Melissa Pease. Pease works as a field training officer now with the patrol division. She's also served as an investigator for more than a decade.

"We're always going to evaluate the situation and make the best decision possible for the community and for our department," Pease said. "The changes that we're going to make are in the best interest of the department and just try to build up our professionalism and reputation in the community again."

Both leaders said they will talk to neighbors face to face and look forward to adding to their team soon.

"That is going to be a huge area of concern for us," Sloan said. "As of right now, we are down numerous people, so we really are going to be aggressive in our hiring and our recruitment."

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