Cloverdale Council ousts one town police officer

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Cloverdale Police Dept. will finish out 2006 short on staff.

On Tuesday, the Cloverdale Town Council voted 5-0 to terminate Officer Nick Eastham from the police force. A motion was made by council person Judy Whitaker to terminate the employment of Eastham with the second given by councilman Glen Vickroy.

On Wednesday, Whitaker told the BannerGraphic the termination was recommended by the police department.

"I think the circumstances merit the action," Whitaker said.

Officials declined to specify why Eastham was terminated from the force.

Eastham had been with the police department since March 2005. In January 2005, CPD Chief Charlie Hallam asked the board for permission to hire two new police officers after Pat McFadden left in 2004 to become a detective for the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept. Shawn Rout also resigned in November 2004 to work at the Putnam County Jail.

The Cloverdale department was undermanned through the remainder of the year and into March 2005 -- with only Hallam and Assistant Chief Tim Walker. But in March, the board voted in favor of the hiring of Eastham and patrolman Nathan Clary.

Prior to becoming an officer in Cloverdale, Eastham was a reserve at the Putnam County Sheriff's Dept.

"We're going to reevaluate the department and go from there," Hallam said Wednesday. "We had issues, obviously."

Hallam cited Indiana Code 36-8-3-4, stating that Eastham was notified in writing Tuesday and has five days to appeal the decision.

Hallam added the town would then have 30 days to hear an appeal.

With only 11 days remaining before the new year, the remaining members of the police force will have to "take up the slack," Town Council President Don Sublett told the BannerGraphic Wednesday morning.

"We haven't taken any steps yet (to find a replacement)," Sublett said. "We'll take the appropriate steps to replace him."

Whitaker echoed Sublett's sentiment, saying the town council has "full confidence" in Hallam to find a replacement officer.

"Obviously, we need four officers," Whitaker said. "That hasn't been addressed yet."

Hallam said being a three-person department is not new to the force, since Clary has been at the Indiana State Police Academy since the middle of August.

"We're still going to be a three-man department, but we were," Hallam said.

But Hallam said Clary will graduate from the academy Friday.

Hallam added the department hopes to have an idea regarding direction set by the town council's monthly meeting in January.

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