After an arduous weekend of reflection, Greensburg Police Chief Bill Meyerrose suspended one of his officers.

Sgt. Steve Barnes, an eight-year veteran, was suspended for three days after it was decided he discharged a handgun in violation of departmental policy.

“I didn’t make my final decision until this (Monday) morning,” Meyerrose said. “I took the weekend to review all of the options. I wanted to make sure the result was fair and equitable.”

Barnes’ suspension came as the result of an incident on Oct. 22. After chasing a suspected drunk driver, and reaching speeds of more than 90 m.p.h. on County Road Southwest 60, the officer shot out the tire of the suspect’s car after it crashed near County Road 700 South. That action spurred the department’s first Firearms Review Board to be seated in more than 16 years. The Board met Friday with Barnes and a civilian rider he was traveling with at the time of the incident. They also reviewed the in-car video from Barnes’ commission which filmed the shooting.

The suspected drunk driver was not called before the Board because Meyerrose feared anything he might say could incriminate him in his upcoming criminal case which is reportedly continuing unabated.

“The suspension was my decision and varies from what the Review Board recommended,” Meyerrose said. “I believe the difference came because I reviewed some other Indiana laws the members didn’t consider.”

In the opinion of the Chief, Barnes was in violation of standard operating procedure (SOP) and Indiana codes which declare an officer can only discharge his weapon when a specific type of felony is in progress.

Indiana Code 35-41-1-11, which Meyerrose used in his decision making process, describes a forcible felony as “A felony that involves the use of threat of force against a human being, or in which there is imminent danger of bodily injury to a human being.”

Despite the fact Barnes discharged his weapon under different circumstances, this does not mean he broke the law. The Code is merely a suggested guideline toward officer behavior.

“No charges are pending because I see no criminal act whatsoever,” Meyerrose said.

Barnes begins serving his suspension today which includes his next scheduled work days of Wednesday and Saturday. He will not be paid during the penalty.

After completing the suspension, Barnes will undergo a Fitness for Duty Psychological Exam. That will be administered Monday by the firm which handles all of the department’s pre-hire evaluations. He will be out on administrative paid leave until the results of that exam are submitted.

“Our SOP states anytime deadly force is used I can request the psych exam,” Meyerrose said. “While not mandated, since nobody was seriously injured or killed, I thought it was smart to err on the safe side. This is the first time a case like this has come up since I’ve been on the department so I’m treading on new ground here. I just want to make sure he’s OK to come back to work.”

The incident will also be used as a teaching tool for current officers as well as an opportunity to review current policies.

“We’re going to take a step back and look at what happened,” Meyerrose said. “We’ll also look at our training regiment to make sure incidents of this type are covered in our procedures with more detail. That will make it easier for our officers to conform to the policy.”

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