Indiana News

Officer Demoted in Bisard Crash Is Promoted

Hicks lost appointed rank of deputy chief after crash, but climbs to top merit rank

12/29/2010

One of three Indy Metro Police commanders demoted over their handling of the David Bisard crash has been promoted.

The Bisard crash cost Ron Hicks his appointed rank as deputy chief -- Chief Paul Ciesielski said Hicks failed to take control of the accident scene.

But Hicks was one of the top-scoring lieutenants on I-M-P-D's captains' exam in 2008. Ciesielski says he's never deviated from the test results in making promotions, and there's every reason to follow them in Hicks' case.

"Ron is a man of integrity. He's a true leader. He has been working as a lieutenant out in the northwest district for the last several months doing an excellent job, and we knew that he would," Ciesielski says.

Bisard is awaiting trial for reckless homicide after crashing his squad car into a group of motorcyclists in August. Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi dropped drunken-driving charges against Bisard, saying police failed to follow state law in taking the officer's blood sample.

Two days after Brizzi announced the dismissals, Ciesielski demoted Hicks, Assistant Chief Darryl Pierce and Commander John Conley back to their merit ranks of lieutenant, saying, "Proper leadership would have ensured that all aspects of the investigation were conducted properly."

Pierce has challenged his demotion in court.

Following I-M-P-D's promotion ceremony, Ciesielski called Hicks' earlier demotion an "unfortunate situation." He notes chiefs and deputy chiefs can lose those ranks at any time for any reason. In that respect, he says, promotion to captain is more prestigious, since it's the highest rank based purely on merit.

Hicks declined comment. He was one of three lieutenants and six sergeants promoted to the next merit rank in a ceremony at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library.

The other two new captains also have links to the Bisard investigation. Deputy Chief Valerie Cunningham conducted the internal probe into the crash investigation, which concluded police violated several department policies in handling the crash scene. And Scott Haslar was named East District Commander after Commander Chad Knecht was named to replace Hicks as deputy chief.

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