SEPTEMBER 18, 2019
OFFICIAL NEWS RELEASE FROM LOCAL FOP
On September 18, 2019, officers of the Evansville Police Department (“EPD”) declared by vote that they have no confidence in Chief Billy Bolin as Chief of the EPD. All active officers of the EPD are members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 73. This is the first time in its history that the FOP Lodge 73 has held a vote of no confidence in its chief.
Chief Bolin has alleged on social media that the FOP leadership has “made fun” of his motto of “Be Nice.” This vote had nothing to do with whether Chief Bolin is a nice guy. Instead, the question is whether he effectively leads the EPD to ensure the safety of Evansville citizens and of the police officers who work under him. EPD officers have overwhelmingly stated that he does not.
The questions presented on the ballot and the results were as follows:
1. As an Evansville Police Officer, do you believe the citizens of Evansville are safer and crime has been reduced under Chief Bolin?
2. Do you believe Chief Bolin ensures adequate staffing of motor patrol to provide for the safety of citizens?
3. Does Chief Bolin prioritize the duties of law enforcement officers and the everyday functions of the Evansville Police Department over media relations?
4. Has Chief Bolin’s elimination of the traditional chain of command improved performance and morale within the ranks of the Evansville Police Department?
5. Are taxpayer dollars appropriately allocated within the Evansville Police Department under Chief Bolin?
6. Our policies and procedures, including those pertaining to discipline, administered fairly and consistently within the Evansville Police Department under Chief Bolin?
7. Do you have confidence in Chief Bolin’s ability to effectively lead the Evansville Police Department?
Between 2010 and 2012, prior to Chief Bolin’s appointment as chief, Evansville recorded an average of 5 homicides per year; under Chief Bolin, the homicide average has risen to 13 per year. Prior to Chief Bolin’s appointment, the average number of assaults per year totaled 280; that average increased to 507 in 2016 and 2017. Perhaps most notably, the violent crime rate in Evansville has nearly doubled from 235.5 per population of 100,000 in 2011 to 402.1 in 2017. Meanwhile, the national crime rate during that same time frame remained steady.
Despite the rising crime rate, the number of motor patrol officers working the street has decreased. In 2011, the EPD employed 138 motor patrol officers. At the beginning of 2018, the EPD employed only 110 motor patrol officers. On most days, the EPD is at minimum staffing levels of patrol officers. This lack of manpower has resulted in slower response times and decreased the safety of our citizens. Officers often cannot proactively patrol our neighborhoods because there are too few of them to do anything other than respond to calls. The back-up times for officers are much slower because of the lack of manning, posing a risk to the safety of those officers. Although the FOP has attempted to address the manning issue with Chief Bolin many times, he consistently denies that the lack of staffing of motor patrol is an issue.
Rather than focusing on the safety of our citizens and the day-to-day operations of the department, Chief Bolin chooses to expend his energy, efforts, and taxpayer dollars on projects that are important to him. Although the FOP certainly agrees that community outreach is very important, the Chief’s projects and relationship with the media should not take precedence over public and officer safety. The Chief is quick to pay overtime to officers who work his special events; yet, the number of patrol cars available for officers to use to patrol our streets is grossly inadequate. Many officers are required to “double-up” in patrol cars or drive rundown vehicles because Chief Bolin chooses not to allocate funds for vehicles.
Chief Bolin’s poor decision-making with regard to personnel issues has also led to low morale within the EPD. Under Chief Bolin, good officers who perform their jobs well have been removed from their positions or reassigned contrary to the best interest of the department.
In short, the officers of the FOP have no confidence in Chief Bolin’s ability to effectively lead the EPD. Unfortunately, in the past, Chief Bolin has dismissed the officers’ concerns, stating to the FOP leadership that the concerns they have brought to him are the concerns of only a few who like to engage in, as Chief Bolin calls them, “boogeyman theories.” The FOP hopes that the outcome of this vote will lead Chief Bolin to realize that the concerns that have been brought to him are, in fact, real and need to be addressed. The FOP further hopes that this vote will effectuate change to better ensure the safety of Evansville citizens and police officers and improve the operations of the EPD.
The FOP President will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. on September 19, 2019, at the FOP Lodge, located at 801 Court Street.