Parker to assist in ‘stabilizing’ CPD
CLOVERDALE -- The Cloverdale Town Council approved the hiring of Chief Deputy Phil Parker of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department to assist in “stabilizing” the Cloverdale Police Department and hiring a new town marshal during Thursday’s special meeting.
“The reason I’m here, folks,” Chief Deputy Parker said in addressing an audience of three, “Sheriff Stockton and I were approached about utilizing our experience here .. and assist with kind of building a police agency from the ground up in terms of policy, standard operating procedure, to come to a place where we’re consist in what we’re doing, that we are engaged with the community on how services are rendered.
“I’m not being critical of anything that has been done or is being done here. I’m not speaking out of turn when I say there’s been a little bit of controversy here over the past few months with your police department. And all we want to do is help make that better.”
Cloverdale has been without a working town marshal since the April arrest of former Marshal Mike Clark on felony theft charges. Clark later entered a guilty plea to lesser included misdemeanor charges and resigned his post.
Before coming to Putnam County as chief deputy, Parker spent 29 years with the Indiana State Police (ISP). Ten years of that was spent as the deputy superintendent of enforcement, “the No. 3 person in charge at the ISP” and which partly entailed managing human resources for all of ISP.
He also graduated from the FBI National Academy, which “about 1 percent of your police executives in the U.S. attend.”
The town has contracted Chief Deputy Parker’s services for two years at a salary of $31,500 per year, which Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Galloway indicated as “the bottom bracket of a patrolman.”
“I promise (the Cloverdale citizens) and the town board,” Chief Deputy Parker said, “that I plan on spending not one more second on your town’s payroll than what it takes to accomplish this mission. So if that is done in six months, then I will be gone in six months.”
When asked what inspired the council to approach the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department, Clerk-Treasurer Cheryl Galloway said, “It was either between hiring another consultant, which we’ve done that before -- we just wanted to think outside the box and get their professional opinion. We’re working with a win-win situation this time. We hit the jackpot.”
She also said the council decided against hiring interim Town Marshal Charlie Hallam permanently because “he’s got too much history here. We just wanted to stay away from the controversy. Charlie’s a good person, but the council felt that 50 percent of the town likes him and 50 percent don’t.”
But Hallam didn’t seem disappointed, later shaking hands with Parker and saying he looked forward to working with him.
Parker said he would begin the search for a new town marshal “as early as tomorrow.” But before that could happen, the council had to approve Ordinance 2016-23, which amends Ordinance 2008-1, Ordinance 2010-6 and Ordinance 2015-2 in the interest of removing barriers to the hire of a new marshal.
In detail, the amendments permit the town marshal to limit the use of police vehicles and select up to 15 reserve police officers; limits the number of full-time and part-time officers to those supported by the budget; sets a one-year probationary period for new full-time officers; prohibits the use of equipment outside serving the town; and provides policies for police compensatory time, bereavement leave, sick leave, vacation days and benefits for full-time officers.
“I will tell you this, the biggest problem I have coming into this community is that I don’t know a single soul here,” Parker said. “I don’t know the politics of Cloverdale. I know very little about Cloverdale. But the biggest asset I have in coming here is that I don’t know the politics of Cloverdale. I have no vendettas, no biases, no prejudices.
“I have nothing but the honest desire to bring what the town board has asked me to do,” Parker added. “I’m flattered by it, to be honest with you. That’s what I intend to do and I intend to do it to the best of my ability.”