JUST IN: EVANSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT

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EVANSVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER  Sgt. JASON CULLUM SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT CONCERNING COMMENTS MADE BY OFFICIALS OF THE LOCAL FOP

(The following responses as part of a press conference held by Sgt. Jason Cullum of EPD earlier today)

Chief Bolin talked about being made fun of for his motto ‘Be Nice”- The FOP said the vote had nothing to do with whether Chief Bolin is a nice guy. 

That response is out of context to what Chief Bolin said. The FOP has an issue with Chief Bolin demanding that his officers be nice. As recently as last week, retired officer Mike Sloat posted on Facebook “Be nice? I have no confidence in this advice. I wonder if a chief of police or a sheriff would advise his personnel of this?” 

In their press release, the FOP claimed that under Chief Bolin the homicide rate has risen to an average of 13 per year. They refer to the uniform crime reporting data in their post, so I will use it too. 

There have been 8, 5, 9, 4, 8, 20, and 10 murders in the first 7 years of Chief Bolin’s term.  If there has only been one year that had 13 or more homicides, how can the average be 13 per year? The true number is 9. This year, there have been 9 murders. Two of them were at the same incident. 

The FOP claimed that in 2011, there were 138 officers assigned to patrol. There were, but only 120 of them counted for manpower on the street. The other 18 were supervisors and were not counted as part of the operational staffing. They also claimed that at the start of 2018, there were only 110 officers assigned to patrol. There were actually 115 officers. And again, there were 18 supervisors. As part of their no-confidence campaign, they told their members that patrol staffing had gone from 138 to 110. That was a lie. It went from 120 to 115. 

If one of those 115 officers worked 2nd shift in July of 2018, they were busy on a run an average of 54% of the shift.  That left an average of 46% of their shift available for proactive patrol. 

Furthermore, if you worked 2nd shift in July of 2011, you had a minimum of 21 officers working. In July of 2019, you had a minimum of 25 officers working. That is 4 more than you had in 2011. 

The FOP claims that manpower issues have decreased safety due to slower response times. In the first 7 ½ years of the prior EPD administration, the average response time was 7:04. Over the same time frame for this administration, the average response time is 7:47. There are many factors that can impact a 31-second increase in response times. 

Does the FOP believe the manpower issues are important when their members receive FOP days off for conferences, fall festival food booth workers, softball tournaments, basketball tournaments, or golf outings? 

They claimed Chief Bolin used tax dollars for projects important to him. That claim can be perceived as financial misconduct. I challenge President DJ Thompson to elaborate on this comment. What projects? How much tax dollars? 

They claimed he was quick to pay overtime for officers to work his events, while not providing patrol cars.  Again, I challenge DJ Thomson to elaborate on this. What events? When? How often? How much was spent? 

How often are the officers being doubled up? You can walk down Sycamore St at just about any time of day or night and you will see multiple line cars not being used. The occasional time where a car is not available isn’t because of overtime being spent at an event. The line started with 19 cars and now has 14. The reduction is because 5 cars were involved in crashes and are not drivable. We ordered 12 new Ford SUV’s back in January. Due to high demand, the vehicles are on backorder and have not arrived yet. 

The FOP claimed Chief Bolin removed good officers who perform their jobs well. Yes. Good officers have been removed from specialty jobs. If the officer’s sergeants and lieutenants feel the officer needs to be removed, they make that decision. There are expectations beyond being good at your job. You can make great arrests, but if you violate department policies, you are not immune from being held accountable. 

The following notes are allegedly from an 8/1/19 meeting with DJ Thompson, Mike Sides, and Alan Yeager was provided to the CCO by EPD Public Information Officer, Sgt. Jason Cullum.

  • “Administration sucks. This is nothing personal against Billy.”
  • Manpower issues. Department is 18 officers short. Officers can’t get days off when they want them. – They get days off when planning ahead. No employer gives days off “whenever the employee wants”
  • “People are just walking out…leaving here for lesser paying police jobs.” – Who left here to what department—what were the other circumstances? Did wife get a new job? Went back to their home area?
  • Not enough officers to do police work. Not making car stops. Not getting guns proactively off the streets.—many officers not doing proactive because line-level supervisors do not make them—many hours of downtime—little to no arrests… We will always be at a minimum. If we increase the minimum, they will complain they can’t get a day off. If we leave it at the current minimum, then they will “always be too busy”. They argue both sides of the coin
  • Manning shortage causing psychological problems with some officers.—shifts are covered—all contractually promised days off are being given
  • Keep starting new units. CPOs were doing the work that the homeless liaison officer is now doing.—CPO’s cover a lot of different issues—Karges Sr can address this
  • Park liaison — Matt Karges — assigned to Mikey’s Kingdom (Billy’s project)and only answers to parks issues—Karges has 734  calls for service. Only 6 (of 33) day shift officers have  more than he does
  • Overtime — can’t imagine how much we spend. We will always be at a minimum because officers take their vac, fam, and comp days-  and officers will always take advantage of unlimited sick days…If we moved to eliminate unlimited sick days, they would fight it
  • OT is mismanaged. 911 Gives Hope…the event at Larry Bennett’s place. ZERO OT for 911 Gives hope or the event at Bennett’s. They are being attacked because Billy is associated ..This claim is completely false
  • Jeff Worthington issue…priority is to go to the media. —Media called and asked about an elected official getting suspended. Media was tipped off before agenda email went out
  • Instances like JW’s creating lots of mistrust of Billy. 
  • 70%-80% of officers don’t trust him. Where did this number come from?
  • A sense that he’s absent a lot. He gets his time off just like everyone else
  • “to be on the department now sucks.” Common feeling. Emotion-based—can’t respond to it
  • People are afraid to do their jobs…afraid the administration won’t back them up. The admin has backed up officers time and time again, The FOP has been silent on every shooting, social media attack…
  • New operational guidelines on officer-involved shootings. Andy reply
  • New OG requires involved officer(s) to make full statement/interview immediately for the sake of media. Very basic info- “ I saw this and fired my” gun.Vegas based video
  • When new OG was rolled out, the administration stated that it had been approved by the FOP attorney, which was false.
  • Rush to the media to release information. More worried about media than officer safety.Not sure what they are referring to
  • Vehicles…not enough of them. Officers are waiting an hour after roll call to get a car.—When did this happen and how often
  • Fewer and fewer cars are on the streets.—
  • Testing process…they would like feedback on the oral portion of exams. In other words, identify areas for improvement.
  • Deputy Chief Bush and Lt. Hahn have relatively little to do for their ranks.
  • Body cams. Concerned about restroom breaks being recorded.—Then ensure you are not recording before you walk in
  • Concerned about the fishing expeditions of supervisors.—Have they found an example?
  • VIPER moved to report directly to the Chief. It’s “his private militia.”
  • “Communication is lacking.” (from Chief)
  • Chief avoids eye contact at roll call and when walking through roll call area.
  • Doing the job is becoming miserable.
  • The administration is setting officers up to fail.—In what way- specific examples
  • Officers of the FOP are targeted for their union activity. Who? 

FOOTNOTE: THE ABOVE INFORMATION WAS POSTED BY THE CITY-COUNTY OBSERVER WITHOUT OPINION, BIAS OR EDITING.

1 COMMENT

  1. Sounds like the Mayor wants to split hairs on the averages. But, nevertheless, as crime has increased, in one year an astronomical 20 homicides, the officers on patrol were decreased. Even with a decrease by five, when crime is on the upsurge, that reduction is felt more acutely than if crime in the year of the decrease was below average. The mayor doesn’t know because he’s never been a police officer waiting for backup, or wondering if he needs it, whether it will be there or not. And why did they cut patrolmen and not supervisors; not even one? Maybe if they cut two supervisors they could have kept the five cops that were pulled. C’mon mayor, look at the real facts.

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