A former Winamac Police Chief has has rejoined the department as a patrol officer. Chief Mike Buchanan says Jeff Heims started June 1. He replaces Daymond Hartley, who resigned amid a controversy over money he reportedly admitted taking from a department evidence locker and is facing criminal charges. Buchanan says Heims is currently working the swing shift to cover for other members of the department when they have days off. The town’s salary ordinance provides a bump in pay of $550 for each five years of seniority, but Buchanan says the town council’s approval is still needed.
“In the past, if someone left the department and then came back, they were given credit for the years of service as far as pay goes. For every five years of service, you get $550. Well Jeff’s got 15 previous years of service,” said Buchanan.
After a brief discussion, council members unanimously agreed to pay Heims an additional $1,650 per year, in keeping with the salary ordinance. They also instructed Buchanan to review the 10 other applications he received for the open patrol position in hopes of hiring someone next month to begin training to replace Sgt. Dwight Peterson, who plans to retire next August. Buchanan says none of the applicants have been through the police academy, which takes four months to complete.