Leadership changes coming to Indianapolis Metro Police Department

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Two of the three commanders demoted in the wake of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer David Bisard case will be named to top command roles.

District Commander Ron Hicks will become Hite’s assistant chief.

Lt. John Conley will assume Hicks’ position as commander of IMPD’s southeast district.

Both officers, along with now-retired Lt. Darryl Pierce, were demoted in August 2010, when then-Public Safety Director Frank Straub claimed they botched the initial investigation of a metro officer who killed one motorcyclist and injured two others while allegedly driving drunk in his patrol car.

Subsequent investigations and reports and a deposition by former Police Chief Paul Ciesielski cast doubt on Straub’s findings which were endorsed by Mayor Greg Ballard.

“I think its great,” said Rachel Cooper of the Southeast Community Organization, who has worked closely with Hicks and Conley in the Fountain Square area for several years. “They got experience. They got the officers behind them, respect from the community and respect from the officers. I think the move is great.”

In an unrelated move, Ellen Corcella, chief of the Department of Public Safety’s Professional Standards unit, has left her position.

“We do not discuss personnel decisions but we will report that she is no longer employed by DPS,” said Deputy Director Val Washington. “In addition, we would like to stress that her departure was not tied to any illegal behavior or action.”

Corcella was hired in early 2012 by Straub to oversee internal affairs investigations for DPS.

Last spring, critics complained that she meddled in the investigation of the Bisard blood vials when it was determined that crucial blood alcohol evidence was stored at room temperature in an unrefrigerated IMPD property room for several months before a crucial court hearing.

Corcella also worked closely with Straub as he unsuccessfully sought to prove allegations that he was attempting to clean up, “30-40-50 years,” of Indianapolis police corruption.

As deputy chief, Corcella was grilled by City-County Council members last September about her relevance to internal investigations and her performance.

The council later struck money from public safety budget to pay Corcella’s salary.

Last week, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs sent an e-mail to all DPS employees advising them that budget cuts would require further belt tightening in the department.

“Due to the continued economic climate, the Mayor and Council have asked each agency within city/county government to develop an overview of budgets with a 5 percent decrease.

“Your leadership has worked very hard identifying 5 percent reductions.

“Let me assure you that there have been no decisions made at this time.”

Riggs has said that other spending cuts will likely forego layoffs or furloughs in 2013.

He expects the council and Mayor Ballard to recommend budget cuts for the foreseeable future and therefore has established a business plan efficiency team to develop a long-term spending plan for DPS.

Recent crime statistics provided by IMPD show violent crime is up 8 percent across the city compared to a year ago with homicide up 46 percent.

Overall crime is down 5 percent citywide.

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