Ind. City Votes to Disband Police Force to Merge with Sheriff's Office

Feb. 8, 2024
Rising Sun's three police officers will merge with the Ohio County Sheriff's Office after the city voted to disband the department and county officials approved the merger.

An Indiana city has disbanded its police department as part of a move to merge the force with the county's sheriff department.

Last week, the Rising Sun City Council voted unanimously to dissolve its three-officer police department, WXIX-TV reports. On Monday, the Ohio County Council approved merging the department with the sheriff's office, which is located in downtown Rising Sun.

The move means the department's three officers will become Ohio County sheriff's deputies. The city will pay the agency $885,000 to cover salaries, gear and health insurance.

"There is not going to be a job lost,” said Sheriff Thomas Baxter, who added that Rising Sun's mayor approached him about merging the agencies.

"They’ve all been in touch and come in and seen me and had discussions about what it will be like," he added. "As far as I’m concerned, they are welcome to come here should they choose to do so, which I believe they do.”

At the start of the year, Rising City's police force had five officers, but one resigned and another left for a neighboring department. The city had nine cruisers that were used by a fully staffed force at one point, and as late as December, efforts were still being made to fill the ranks.

The city also has had no permanent police chief for the past five years. Chief David Hewitt died in a February 2019 car crash, and the first interim chief retired and the second is now under a 17-felony count criminal indictment.

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