ClOVERDALE -- After being understaffed since early February, the Cloverdale Police Department recently added a fourth member.
Jason Baugh, 40, Greencastle, was recently selected from 14 applicants to fill the vacant spot in the department. The position had been open since Feb. 12 after Nick Eastham resigned his post.
"It feels great to have another person," CPD Chief Charlie Hallam told the BannerGraphic Monday.
Baugh comes from a family rich in law enforcement. His brother, Jared, is an Indiana Excise Officer in addition to being the president of the Putnam County Fraternal Order of Police.
Jason is also the son of the late Jim Baugh, who served as Putnam County Sheriff and was a Captain on the Sheriff's Dept. at the time of his death in 2004.
Hallam said he believed Jason was the top applicant.
"I think we've done right," Hallam said. "But we're going to take our time training him."
Hallam added the department has only had three officers patrolling regularly since December, when the Cloverdale Town Council voted 5-0 to terminate Eastham from the force during a special meeting.
Eastham had been with the police department since March 2005. In January 2005, 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.
In March 2005, CPD hired Eastham and Nathan Clary, who remains on staff along with CPD Assistant Chief Tim Walker.
However, despite the vote to terminate the officer, Eastham was reinstated in January after appealing his case. Eastham filed an appeal with the council and due to procedural errors regarding his termination, his appeal was granted via a 5-0 vote by the council. He was reinstated to full duty and paid all backdues, compensation time and benefits before resigning in February.
Hallam cited Indiana Code 36-8-3-4 as reasoning for the termination during the termination hearing of Eastham.
The code is for the discipline, demotion and dismissal for police officers and firefighters, along with hearings, appeals and administration leave for those in the departments. According to the code, a member of the police or fire department may be disciplined by a safety board if he or she is guilty of "neglect of duty," violation of rules, neglect or disobedience of orders, incapacity and absence without leave, among other disciplinary infractions.