New GPD officer hiring spawns some old fears
Greencastle has a new police officer and the same old set of concerns.
The Board of Public Works and Safety Thursday selected 34-year-old Seth Doty of Greencastle as a new patrol officer for the Greencastle Police Department. He replaces Eric Vaughan who left the department earlier this year to take a Community Corrections post in Vigo County.
Doty was one of two officers interviewed by the board Thursday before formal action was taken. The other candidate was Jensen Clement, 26, of Plainfield.
Neither Doty nor Clement has attended the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, a point which makes city officials a bit leery. Several times in the past the city has hired an officer, paid to put him or her through training at the academy, only to see that officer leave to take a better-paying position with another department.
Prior to his selection, Doty, who was recommended by the GPD Board of Captains, was asked by board member Trudy Selvia, “How do we keep from losing you to the Sheriff’s Department or to Plainfield or Danville?”
“This is my backyard,” Doty responded. “As far as pulling me from the police department, it’s not going to happen. Greencastle is my hometown, my address, where my kids are growing up. This is my goal, this is where I want to be. This is where I want to train the people who come after me.”
The 2005 North Putnam High School graduate said his passion has always been his community.
“My hometown is important to me,” Doty said, “and one way to give back to my family is to keep the community safe.”
Addressing the board’s concern about retaining officers after they have graduated from the academy, Greencastle Police Chief Tom Sutherlin said recent salary increases implemented by the city “hopefully will help” and have made GPD salaries competitive with other departments.
“They can go to Hendricks County and make more money,” the chief added, “but they’ll probably have to pay more taxes” not to mention face a higher mortgage and cost of living.
Chief Sutherlin, who will soon turn 53, noted he has served the city for 31 years, and lived in Greencastle all but the first nine years of his life. “We’re going to fight to keep Seth here,” he said, “and anybody else.”
If they want to leave, the chief added, “you can’t judge them for that but only wish them well.”
Turnover hasn’t occurred as often as it has at times in the past at GPD, a fact Mayor Bill Dory said bodes well for Sutherlin.
“You’ve served as chief for quite a few years,” he said, “so we’ve had some consistency in management.”
The mayor also told Doty that “in a small town, you don’t get pigeonholed” as officers continually are given new and varied responsibilities.
Doty currently serves as a security officer for Walmart at Crawfordsville following a prior stint at Danville. He also has experience as a Putnam County jailer, a Putnamville Correctional Facility guard and K9 officer as well as working for Homeland Security in downtown Indianapolis. He graduated from Vincennes University in 2008 after studying law enforcement.
Clement, meanwhile, said she has been involved in the National Guard for two years with training in law enforcement and riot control.
Certified as an EMT, she currently works in an electrical supply warehouse at Plainfield.
Sutherlin said the hiring process initially began with 17 candidates. Background checks were done on 10 of those before they were presented to the Board of Captains, which whittled the final candidates to Doty and Clement.
Selvia made the motion to hire Doty, pending PERF (Public Employee Retirement Fund) approval. After a second by Craig Tuggle, Mayor Dory made it unanimous.
The Board of Works is next scheduled to meet in regular session at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 14 at City Hall.