The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department has some of the best officers in the uniform anywhere. I know because I know many of them. They are good people and good police officers, but, unfortunately, they all get a black eye when their colleagues let them down.
Today, Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Frank Straub announced that IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski had resigned over the botched handling of a second vial of Officer David Bisard's blood. Rick Hite has been sworn in as the Acting Chief of Police
You may remember, Bisard plowed his patrol vehicle into a group of motorcycles in August of 2010. Eric Wells was killed, and Mary Mills and Kurt Weekly suffered serious, debilitating injuries. Initially, a blood draw showed that Bisard was drunk on the job, but that blood was not drawn by a technician that was certified to do it, violating state law. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi dropped all drunk driving charges at the time due to the revelation, and it wasn't until January of 2011 that new Prosecutor Terry Curry refiled the charges. Judge Grant Hawkins again threw out the drunk driving charges because of the way the first vial of blood was obtained. At the time of the blood draw, a second vial of blood had been drawn, and Hawkins gave the o.k. to test that blood just last week.
That will not happen. Bisard's blood was, according to the Indianapolis Star, moved from a refrigerated storage space to an un-refrigerated space along with several other blood samples. Deputy Chief Valerie Cunningham, Lieutenant Paula Irwin, and a civilian employee were put on administrative leave. Now, we may never know the truth of David Bisard's sobriety on that day.
Chief Ciesielski, from all accounts, fell on his sword here and took ultimate responsibility for the errors inside his department. He will remain on the force as a Captain, but I can't feel anything but bad for him. Ciesielski has, by many accounts, had his hands tied by Straub on running this department.
If that's the case, it should be Straub going out the door, too. He won't get away so easily. This is certain to weigh also on Straub whose job is up for review next week in front of a City-County Council committee. If the Council refuses to reapprove Straub's reappointment by the Mayor, he can continue to serve until he is replaced by Ballard.
The most unfortunate aspect of this whole fiasco is that justice may not be done for Wells, Mills, and Weekly. Incompetence at best...corruption at worst, and it's in our front yard again. Embarrassing.