In December 2016, the tiny town of Bunker Hill, Indiana made national news when its entire police force walked off the job. A year later, their luck doesn’t seem to be changing. On December 8, the town fired the man that they had chosen to replace the original force amidst allegations of criminal activity.
Town officials claim that they have forwarded the information and any pertinent evidence to the Kokomo, Indiana, Police Department– but have yet to see any results. Bunker Hill is no stranger to corruption or town controversy. Over the last decade, many residents have lost faith in local government as arrest after arrest have been made from among their elected officials.
This has led many to wonder exactly what’s going on in the small town. Bunker Hill is governed by a town council responsible for overseeing activities at every level of the community. When the news broke of the sudden departure of the previous police force, the officers cited corrupt and illegal activity by members of the town council as the catalyst for their decision.
According to NBC News, former marshal Michael Thomison had a laundry list of what seemed to be legitimate complaints justifying the actions of the 2016 police force. Thomison claimed that they were left with no other means of protest when they were repeatedly faced with situations that threatened their ethics, legal obligations, and safety.
The complaints cited by Thomison included everything from council members attempting to compel illegal and unethical background checks to budget cuts that left them with one bullet proof vest to share amongst all seven officers.
NBC News went on, writing–“He also alleged on at least two occasions, deputies who pulled over a council member or a council member’s wife were retaliated against.”
In an upsetting turn of events, the town opted to cut Thomison to part-time after he received a cancer diagnosis that required him to file multiple insurance claims that were supposed to be covered by the town’s health insurance plan. Becoming part-time eliminated his ability to receive health insurance, placing him in a precarious financial and medical position.
The Bunker Hill Town Council president, Carl Wade, had this to say about the town’s latest loss of their newest and only town marshal,–
“We have great coverage from the county, just as we did when our officers walked out last year. There’s nothing for people to worry about. We don’t have a high crime rate in town.”
With a population of fewer than 900 people in a six-mile square area, Bunker Hill has experienced both a bank robbery and a homicide within the last ten years– causing warranted concern amongst its long-term residents.
This latest upset comes on the heels of the arrest of former Bunker Hill Clerk Treasurer, Lisa Wilson, in June for felony theft and official misconduct– and the conviction of her predecessor, Careena Byers, in 2015 for forgery and similar misconduct.
Walking through the streets of Bunker Hill, one would never know that there has been so much local upset and financial loss. The members of the community are primarily comprised of decent working class people who embrace traditional Midwestern values and bolster the community in the face of such disparaging news.