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Ind. Chief Awaits Decision on Misconduct Charges

 

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. --

Zionsville's embattled police chief is expected to learn Wednesday if he'll be charged following a state police investigation into accusations of misconduct.

Special prosecutor David Powell said a key document would be filed with the court Wednesday, one he expected would be a major step forward in the investigation into Rick Dowden.

The probe began last summer when a confidential informant came forward and accused the chief of stealing a 50-inch plasma TV that had been recovered as evidence in a Boone County burglary.

The TV was later found mounted in Dowden's home, investigators said.

Dowden placed himself on leave after becoming angry during a November roll call when several witnesses said he drew his cocked service revolver, pointing it in the air while simulating the sound of gunfire.

In a controversial move, Dowden returned to his job in February, continuing to lead the department even as his career is in question.

Board of Police Commissioners Chairman Art Harris said he hopes progress will be made in the case soon.

"Nobody knows what the outcome of this is going to be. Our police chief could be exonerated, or he could be charged," said Harris, who said officers were in limbo. "I mean, when you have that cloud hanging over your head, it's hard to focus on what you're supposed to be doing."

Harris said the investigation has most recently been focused on the handling of a stolen car seized by police.

Meanwhile, Zionsville officials have retained a private law firm to perform an administrative review of the Police Department's policies and procedures.

Some residents said they want to know what's happening.

"I think at this point what we need is transparency. We need to be told what's going on," said Janelle Morrison. "I think there hasn't been a lot of that. There hasn't been a lot of information released."

Dowden did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

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