I am responding to the “Letter to the Editor” written by Mrs. Morrell and published on July 9, 2013 regarding her encounter with two police officers in early June. First, I extend my most sincere apology to Mrs. Morrell and her passengers since their interaction with the Rushville Police Department was not a positive experience. I also apologize if this encounter has left the perception of illegal police conduct on Mrs. Morrell, her passengers or the Rush County community. I assure you that I hold individual liberties and rights in the highest regard and expect no less of our police officers. I also have no tolerance whatsoever for discrimination of any kind both within the department or when interacting with the citizens of Rushville.
I assure you and your readers that Assistant Chief Click and I will be making a close examination of this complaint lodged by Mrs. Morrell to determine what, if any, inappropriate action has taken place on the part of Rushville police officers. If it is determined that inappropriate conduct was displayed as parts of this traffic stop please know that, swift and decisive action will be taken. At the time we are able to reach a conclusion in our investigation, we will make our findings known.
Several legal standards are at play in this event, but I elect not to debate those issues in this forum. Those issues are best addressed in the traffic court having jurisdiction over this incident. Any perceptions, that don’t align with the department’s core beliefs, which were created as a result of this traffic stop, are regretted. As individuals and a department, we will continue to endeavor toward the goal that we have had since the beginning of this administration; to foster a strong relationship with the community where we can work together to create a safe and productive environment conducive to living, working, and raising a family.
Since having the privilege of heading up the department, we have worked hard to initiate programs and hold events to help us march toward this goal. We started a narcotic K9 program; held tightly to our D.A.R.E. program in a time when its future was questionable; resurrected a bicycle patrol unit for more community-focused patrols; created a Parks Patrol program with volunteers and we have assigned an officer to the full-time investigation of narcotics cases. This has resulted in an increase in arrests of narcotic users, dealers and manufactures, and a reduction in property and violent crimes. To convey our goals and objectives, we have also increased the number of public speaking engagements. Although we understand, we hope that the countless positive initiatives will not be instantly outweighed by one negative experience.
This incident brings to light challenges that lie before our department: we must strive to correct image misconceptions while building public trust. The department will do this by continuing to create positive initiatives and opportunities. These are tests we accept. You will continue to see us roll out new programs and initiatives of several programs that have been in the works for weeks that are nearly ready to be unveiled. These initiatives include a bicycle rodeo for area youth promoting cycling safety and a series of special events to celebrate our 130th anniversary. In the New Year, Assistant Chief Click will start a citizen and teen academy that has been developed to teach the citizenry about the law enforcement processes. With each event we look forward to meeting and interacting with those we are sworn to protect and serve.
We are prepared for the task before us. We will constantly strive to provide quality service to the citizens of Rushville. I appreciate Mrs. Morrell’s concerns and will take the necessary steps to investigate whether her rights and the rights of her passengers were violated.
Craig M. Tucker
Rushville Chief of Police