(Michigan City, IN) - The former mayor of Michigan City says the change in leadership at the police department has more to do with the current administration's failure.
Mayor Duane Parry announced on Friday that continued high crime and turnover at the department were the primary factors in replacing police chief Dion Campbell.
Campbell was appointed to the job by former Mayor Ron Meer before Meer left office in 2019.
Meer believes that a police chief alone could not reduce crime. He also thinks that the problem with continued high crime and turnover stems from a recent increase in pay for officers not being large enough and a lack of other resources at the department, like new technology.
Meer said officers keep leaving, and the tight-fisted spending decisions were an example of the chief being restricted in his efforts to run the department.
He said the money was for more significant raises from sources like the federal COVID-19 relief dollars awarded to local municipalities nationwide.
"We could be putting a police department in place that other officers from other cities are wanting to come to, but they're not utilizing the money. There's no leadership out of the mayor's office and the prosecutor's office, in my opinion supporting local law enforcement," Meer said.
Meer also praised Campbell for being well-liked in the community and a very good communicator.
Officer Steve Forker will become police chief beginning on Wednesday.
Campbell's replacement comes several weeks after the mayor allegedly wrecked his city-owned vehicle at the lakefront and fled. Campbell brought in state police to investigate the alleged hit-and-run to avoid any conflict of interest.
According to a police report, the exhaust system was ripped off the vehicle by an above-ground pipe the mayor allegedly drove over at Washington Park. So far, no charges have been filed in the case.
Meer, who lost his bid for a third consecutive term to Parry by less than 100 votes, said he's still considering a run for mayor next year.