The Journal Gazette
Friday, August 28, 2020 12:40 pm

Auburn police chief resigns

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

Auburn's police chief has resigned amid an investigation into missing evidence in the police department.

Martin D. McCoy submitted his resignation as chief Thursday and asked to be returned to his prior rank of lieutenant. McCoy had been police chief for 20 years.

Mayor Mike Ley said McCoy told him in late January evidence was missing from the police evidence room. Ley said the police department became aware of the issue in November before he took office this year.

"I immediately began my own due diligence with regard to both the criminal investigation and my own internal review of the issue," Lee said in a statement this week. "An internal review of the police department evidence procedures has determined that a number of other items have either not been properly documented or are unaccounted for."

The Indiana State Police has been investigating for several months, Ley said, and Whitley County Prosecutor D.J. Sigler was appointed to review the case and consider charges. DeKalb County Prosecutor Claramary Winebrenner recused herself.

In a statement, McCoy said a theft from the department occurred "even though policy, guidelines, rules, regulations and systems were in place to stop this type of incident from occurring."

"I wish that I could provide you and the public with more detail and information but to do so would jeopardize a current and ongoing criminal investigation by the Indiana State Police. I can tell you that I believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person responsible is no longer associated with the Auburn Police Department and am hopeful that this person will ultimately be held accountable."

McCoy said the issue has caused the city administration to question his ability to lead the police department. "It is essential that the mayor has someone in the position of chief chat he has complete confidence in," he said.

Ley said the city needs to address the situation now because of the police department's move to a new headquarters.

He said a veteran state police evidence officer will assist the city in the transition of evidence to a temporary police headquarters this fall. The officer will also review internal protocols associated with the documentation and storage of evidence, Ley said.

An similar incident occurred five years ago, he said.

"It is in no way acceptable to me to have this occur, let alone repeat itself two times in the last five years," Ley said.

Assistant Chief Mark Stump was named acting chief Thursday. An announcement is expected next week appointing a new chief from outside the department, Ley said.

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