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Police officer suspended

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Terry Austin
Terry Austin

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Board of Works and Public Safety voted Tuesday to suspend a Greenfield police officer indefinitely without pay following the officer’s arrest on felony charges.

Terry Austin, a lieutenant and shift supervisor, is accused of bribery and official misconduct, both Class D felonies. Austin admitted he offered several fellow police officers a $200 steak dinner to pull over his ex-wife and tow her car for driving on a suspended license, according to court documents filed Friday.

Tuesday morning, the board of works suspended Austin without pay but opted to continue the officer’s health-care benefits.

Indiana law allows for the governing board of a police department to suspend an officer who has been charged with a crime.

Greenfield Police Chief John Jester recommended the suspension after consulting with the city attorney and the mayor early Tuesday on what should happen to the officer while the criminal case is pending.

City attorney Tom Billings spoke to the board of works Tuesday, telling board members that if the officer is cleared of wrongdoing in the criminal case, the board may award back pay.

The board unanimously approved the suspension.

Board member Brent Lawson said revoking the officer’s pay was a difficult decision.

“It was a bad case of judgment,” Lawson said of the officer’s actions. “I understand we’ve got felonies involved here, but I’d hate to see a lack of judgment cause somebody to lose pay.”

While he recommended the suspension, Jester also stood up for the officer, an 18-year veteran of the department

“Terry’s been a real good officer for us,” he said.

Jester said Tuesday that he also planned to retrieve Austin’s department-issued gun, badge and take-home squad car.

Austin turned himself in to the Hancock County Jail Friday after charges were filed. He was released that evening on a $5,000 cash bond.

An initial hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 17 in Hancock Superior Court 1.

An internal investigation is ongoing.


Staff writer Maribeth Vaughn contributed to this report.

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