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Marengo closer to filling marshal position


February 01, 2012
Marengo is a step closer to having its town marshal position settled.

The new board — which took office Jan. 1 and consists of Mike Haverstock, Glen Laws and Peggy Bullington — at a special meeting Jan. 23, voted 2-0, with Bullington abstaining, to advertise for a part-time marshal.

Bullington abstained because her stepson, Wayne Bullington, is a candidate for the position, and until recently had worked as a police officer for the town under Marshal Larry Allen.

However, when Allen resigned to become the director of the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency, Wayne Bullington no longer could serve as an officer for the town.

That is because Bullington failed to complete parts of a training program at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy last year and had to serve as a reserve officer under someone who had completed the training.

Bullington was a deputy with the Crawford County Sheriff's Department until the late 1990s. He remained out of law enforcement for years until he was hired first as a corrections officer at the Crawford County Jail and then as marshal in his hometown of Marengo.

Despite having completed the ILEA training when he was a sheriff's deputy, Bullington was required by the ILEA to retake the program since he had been out of law enforcement for at least six years. However, Bullington, who is a diabetic who had part of his leg amputated after an infection in a foot spread and now has a prosthetic leg, failed the physical part of the training.

The former town council attempted to keep Bullington, who had received high marks from residents, in the position by passing an ordinance that would allow him to bypass some of the requirements, but relented after learning speaking with its attorney.

The council believed it had found a way to keep Bullington as an officer in September, when it hired Allen, a retired conservation officer, to serve as marshal with Allen then appointing Bullington as a reserve. The state only requires reserve officers to have completed the 40-hour pre-basic training, a pre-requisite to attending the ILEA, which Bullington had satisfied.

When those plans fell through following Allen's resignation, Bullington contacted State Rep. Steve Davisson about changing the legislation requiring law enforcement officers who have completed the ILEA training but haven't worked in at least six years to retake the training.

If passed by the General Assembly, the change wouldn't take effect until July 1, but Bullington said he possibly could receive a waiver, so he could begin working before then.

At the Jan. 23 meeting, Bullington told the council that he had not heard back from Davisson.

Haverstock, whom the council chose to serve as its president, asked Laws and Peggy Bullington if they wanted to go ahead and advertise for a part-time marshal to work up to 24 hours per week so it could consider the matter at its Feb. 13 meeting.

"I think this is probably what we need to do," Bullington said.

Following a motion by Laws that was seconded by Haverstock, the council voted (with Bullington abstaining) to advertise the position in the Feb. 1 and 8 issues of the Clarion News, with applications due by 4 p.m. on Feb. 13, in time for the 6:30 meeting that evening.

Eligible applicants must have completed the 40-hour pre-basic training. Whoever is hired has one year to complete the full ILEA training.

In a related matter, the council accepted Allen's resignation as marshal retroactive to its Jan. 9 meeting.

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