Indiana News

Ripley Co. Sheriff Speaks on Chief Deputy's Arrest


Joe "David" Pippin (file photo courtesy Indiana State Police)

Ripley County Sheriff Tom Grills wants his Chief Deputy treated fairly by investigators and prosecutors.

Sheriff Grills released a statement shortly after the arrest of David Pippin on Wednesday. In it, he said, "It is unfortunate this incident has come to light. I am somewhat shocked about this since I just drug tested myself, and all my employees including David, in September of this year through the Health Department. David passed a 12 panel drug screen. The commissioners were clear we drug tested all our employees at a commissioner's meeting, since I requested all the county employees and elected officials be tested, according the commissioners new policy. I don't think they have completed that request yet."

Grills added that Pippin's personnel file contains no disciplinary actions since he joined the Sheriff's Office in 1995. He says that Pippin has served as Chief Deputy for 11 years. Grills added that the arrest will not change operations at the Sheriff's Department. "Our office will still run the way it has been. I am not going to get involved. I trust the attorneys and judges will handle it. We, the Sheriff's Office, are not immune to this type of activity and neither is any other Agency. People need to understand police officers are humans, and they still have the same types of issues other citizens go through, whether financial, domestic, or addictions. I have always told my staff if they need anything, professionally or personally, to let me know and we will work through it together. We will let the courts handle this complaint as it should."

As Sheriff Grills continued his statement, he seemed to indicate politics are a factor in how potential criminal cases are handled. He also questioned the activities of Ripley County Prosecutor Richard Hertel. "I just hope the Prosecutor can keep the politics and personal feelings out of it, as I think some of this stems from that. Usually, special prosecutors are appointed in these types of cases." Grills says other criminal cases appear to be ignored. "I am still waiting to hear on what happens to the auditor and commissioner who have committed felonies and have yet to be charged. The prosecutor was notified six months ago or better on those cases. I will be following up soon to check the status. "

Grills continued, "In 2003 the Prosecutor's investigator was arrested for an OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) and the current Prosecutor never charged him. The bond was released and nothing further." He added, " I think that is unfortunate, and political, since after that incident the investigator was given a job by the Prosecutor in his office. I bet there are hundreds of people out there who would like that to happen to them after they are arrested for that type of offense. Heck, most people can't even get a pre-trial diversion from what I am told, which is what probably should've happened at the minimum in this case."

Grills says we wants Pippen to be treated fairly. "I just want proper, firm, and fair treatment of everyone," he said. "That is our job in the justice system. Let's just not pick and choose who breaks the law and should be charged or not. I am not condoning David Pippin's alleged behavior, or anyone else's improper behavior."

Sheriff Grills says there is a pill problem in Ripley County that needs to be dealt with. He took aim at the doctors he believes are part of the problem. "The prescription pill problem in this country needs to be addressed, as we all know doctors don't ask, until recent law passed I am told, about things. Doctors like to push pills just as much as anyone." Grills went on to say that he has had pills pushed on him, but he chose not to fill the prescriptions. As for the doctors, he said "I think they get a financial kickback, but that is my opinion, not fact."

Grills closed his statement noting his law enforcement history. "I have worked in law enforcement for the last 16 years to accomplish public trust in the Sheriff's Office and will continue to work towards that," he said. Grills continued, "This incident will not hold me back from continuing to do my job, or leading the Sheriff's Office to operate in an effective and efficient manner. I am going to continue to fight crime and corruption. The voters of the county trusted me to do this (seven) years ago, and I will continue to do so until the day I retire from law enforcement."

The Ripley County Prosecutor's Office charged Pippin with six felony counts of acquiring a controlled substance by deceit. He was arrested Wednesday and released shortly thereafter on $1,050 bond. He has been suspended from the Ripley County Sheriff's Department until this case is resolved.

» Ripley Co. Chief Deputy Sheriff Arrested on Drug Charges (12-18-13)


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