Knox County's law enforcement agencies continue to be plagued with troubles as a Federal Bureau of Investigation search of Vincennes Police Department's headquarters on Wednesday led to city officials placing chief Dusty Luking on paid administrative leave.
A spokesperson with the FBI's field office in Indianapolis confirmed that several agents executed a search warrant at VPD headquarters at 501 Busseron St., but they declined to provide any further information.
An attorney with the U.S. Attorney's Southern Indiana District in Indianapolis, too, said she would not comment on the investigation.
Mayor Joe Yochum, in a press release issued Thursday afternoon, said assistant chief Terry Johnson will handle daily operations “to ensure the overall operations of the department and continued service and safety to the public.”
Luking himself did not return a phone call seeking additional information.
Members of Bicknell's Board of Works also on Wednesday officially terminated the employment of former lieutenant Kevin Carroll after he pleaded guilty this week in Knox County Superior Court I to a charge of criminal recklessness, a Class B misdemeanor.
Bicknell Mayor Thomas Estabrook said Carroll could appeal the board's decision and has “indicated” that he is likely to do so.
Carroll was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested more than a year ago by the Indiana State Police and the FBI for allegedly sharing information about an undercover drug operation.
That investigation got underway in March 2018 after state police reviewed allegations that Carroll had shared sensitive information with a Daviess County resident that could have compromised undercover drug operations and put undercover officers at risk.
Bicknell's police chief, too, was placed on leave in April and was charged last month of battery against a public safety official, a Level 6 felony.
According to court documents, Stremming was attempting to take back a police-issued laptop computer given to the prosecutor's office.
Bicknell police officer Jake Fischer took his police-issued laptop to prosecutors as he believed it contained evidence, specifically body-camera footage of a conversation between him and Carroll.
Stremming went to the prosecutor's office, court documents say, and demanded the laptop back. He attempted to remove it from investigator Rose Archer's desk, but she placed her hands on it, saying it contained evidence in an ongoing case and couldn't be removed from the office.
Stremming then allegedly "pushed Archer against the wall" and continued to try to seize the laptop. He eventually left without it.
The two incidents have left Bicknell officials in something of a lurch in terms of police protection as it currently has just one officer.
Bicknell City Council will meet in special session at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss a possible permanent deal with the Knox County Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff's deputies have been providing nighttime coverage now for about three months, and just this week Sheriff Doug Vantlin urged Estabrook and the Bicknell city council to come to terms on an inter-local agreement now three months in the making, one that would see the county provide some level of law enforcement in exchange for what is likely to be an annual financial contribution.