Mike Anderson photo

Mike Anderson

A longtime deputy enmeshed in turmoil over his personal Facebook posts has turned in his retirement papers at the Vigo County Sheriff's Office.

Lt. Mike Anderson submitted his retirement paperwork this morning, Vigo County Sheriff John Plasse said.

The Tribune-Star reached Anderson by phone this afternoon, and he declined to comment.

Anderson is no longer on duty, Plasse said. Anderson's final day on the payroll remains to be determined because the 40-year veteran has accrued paid time off that is being calculated.

“It was his decision,” Plasse said of Anderson's retirement, adding that he “did not pressure” Anderson to leave the department after discussing the Facebook postings that earlier this month resulted in the school corporation firing Anderson as a school resource officer.

Plasse said that as of noon Monday, no formal complaint had been filed against Anderson by Terre Haute resident Lyman Roberts.

It was Roberts who widely distributed printed packets of screenshots showing racially charged images and statements posted on Anderson's Facebook page. Roberts also claimed Anderson had harassed him for doing so.

The sheriff said Anderson admitted going to Roberts' home, in uniform, to ask Roberts about the packets. The sheriff said Anderson told him he was not trying to intimidate Roberts, but only wanted to find out why Roberts was distributing the packets -- which went to public officials and the media.

Plasse said he has received no complaints from other individuals about Anderson, but the department will investigate any complaints formally filed.

Anderson and Roberts have had conflicts over multiple issues going back several years. 

The sheriff also said he will be meeting with an attorney for a “thorough review” of the department's policy on social media use by employees.

“We want to make it right, and make it smart, not just a knee-jerk reaction to this,” Plasse said.

Among other things, Anderson's posts from several years -- all since removed -- referenced his support for the Confederate battle flag and Second Amendment Rights, including the "come and take them" sentiment. There also were racially charged images.

One posting, which the school corporation included in its June 19 termination letter, was a photo of Civil War re-enactors containing overlay text of “It’s not just about history … the South was right!”

Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or at lisa.trigg@tribstar.com. Follow her on Twitter at TribStarLisa.

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