BICKNELL — Members of the city’s Board of Works say they’ve found just cause to terminate the employment of its only remaining police officer.
The board met in private Tuesday afternoon to hold a disciplinary hearing in regards to allegations made months ago against officer Jacob Fischer.
The board then re-convened for a public meeting and announced they’d found Fischer guilty of both allegations, which were conduct unbecoming a police officer and conduct injurious to the public peace or welfare.
The board voted to immediately dismiss Fischer from the Bicknell Police Department; he had been on administrative leave for weeks.
According to court documents, the board found that Fischer held a “personal bias” against another Bicknell resident, a woman, during a traffic stop.
Fischer reportedly tried to obtain a protective order against Sheri Laue in Knox County Circuit Court in May of last year, but it was denied.
Then, in February, Fischer pulled her over in Bicknell for an alleged turn-signal violation.
Body cameras captured the incident.
According to court documents that cite the footage, 94 seconds into the encounter, Fischer drew his baton and broke the glass of the driver’s side window, sending shards all over Laue and two other people inside the car.
Later, at 117 seconds in, court documents say, he drew his taser and threatened to use it on Laue.
But board members say, upon reviewing the footage, Laue was “unarmed, nonthreatening and was not trying to escape the encounter.”
Fischer, who has adamantly maintained his innocence and claimed the body camera footage would exonerate him, had been with the police department for three years, and served as its only remaining active officer, working the day shift and also acting as the city's code enforcement officer.
His dismissal now leaves the city of Bicknell without any city police officers.
Former chief Terry Stremming resigned last month amid legal troubles of his own. He is currently facing charges stemming from an incident at the prosecutor’s office last year. He was charged with battery against a public safety official, a Level 6 felony, and that court case is ongoing.
A third officer, Kevin Carroll, resigned last August after he pleaded guilty in Knox County Superior Court I to a charge of criminal recklessness, a Class B misdemeanor.
Carroll was placed on administrative leave by the city after he was arrested by the Indiana State Police and the FBI for allegedly sharing information about an undercover drug operation.
Such troubles led Mayor Thomas Estabrook last summer to strike a deal with county officials that brought Bicknell under the sheriff's department's protection.