CUMBERLAND – Breck Terheide’s first term on Cumberland Town Council is almost done, but that doesn’t mean he’s done with the council.
“I think we’ve got a lot of business started we haven’t finished,” he said.
The Republican is running for a second term, during which he hopes to continue working to retain police officers, foster responsible growth, improve parks and tackle issues brought to him by constituents. While he represents District 4 in the center of town, all registered voters in Cumberland vote for all council candidates on the ballot regardless of where they live. Terheide faces Bob Carrell in the upcoming primary election.
Terheide retired from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in 2021 as a captain working in investigations, and continues to serve in the department as a reserve. He also works in security and teaches management at Ball State University. He majored in accounting for his undergrad at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, earned a Master of Business administration from Ball State and has a doctorate in organizational leadership from Purdue University.
He serves on the Cumberland Metropolitan Board of Police Commissioners and has served on the town’s redevelopment commission.
His public service background makes him a natural fit for the council, he said.
“That’s the expertise I brought over these last four years to try to guide that,” he said. “And I think if you’re not in a public service role, it’s not that you can’t catch it, but I think there’s a heck of a learning curve when you try to understand municipal budgets, how the budgeting process works, how you’ve got to work with the state to get certain things done.”
When looking back on his first few years in office, Terheide recalled the nearly 25% pay raise for police that the town council approved last December.
“A lot of people aren’t wanting to join the profession anymore,” he said. “And you’re really competing against so many other agencies.”
Especially the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Terheide continued, with Cumberland bordering the city.
“We’re not at IMPD pay, we’re still below that, but for a relatively small town, we’re competitive especially in the Hancock County market,” he said.
He hopes the raise will have a positive impact on retaining the force’s officers.
“If you don’t keep what you’ve got, replacing it is just so hard,” he said.
Terheide also hopes it will stem a ripple effect with potential damaging consequences.
“Less officers, less presence – generally crime goes up,” he said. “Crime goes up, insurance rates go up. Insurance rates go up when things aren’t as safe – your bond issues aren’t as strong. So there’s other issues that tie into this.”
Positive growth is another of Terheide’s priorities, particularly the kind that allows commercial growth to thrive with enough separation from residential areas. Last year, he supported the town contracting with Indianapolis-based Veridus Group for a retail gap analysis.
He said Cumberland has had good restaurant options and has recently gained more.
“But I think there’s a lot of folks that still leave town to go to other restaurants, so I think there’s some other amenities we can add that can still keep our small-town charm but bring in some commercial revenue, some business,” he said.
Most of Cumberland’s recent growth is on its Hancock County side. The new Grant’s Corner neighborhood spans at the northwest corner of U.S. 40 and CR 700W. Eastway Court Apartments on the town’s east side is growing to the north. Nearly 270 homes are slated for north of U.S. 40 and east of CR 700W. Last year, the town announced commercial and residential goals for about 250 acres near the northwest corner of U.S. 40 and Mt. Comfort Road.
Terheide said that growth requires officials to consider a number of factors, including utilities and public safety.
“A lot of people are moving here,” he said. “This is a very attractive area. But with that raises density, increases traffic flow, infrastructure issues.”
Terheide said he enjoys working with town residents on an individual basis as well, whether it’s pedestrian-friendly improvements at Lions Park or fixes for storm drainage grates at Valley Brook Farms.
He recalled a constituent who approached him recently regarding concerns about parking. Terheide invited her to speak at a council meeting, which she did, and the council later passed an ordinance implementing prohibitions on parking recreational vehicles in residential areas.
“I like what’s happening in the town,” Terheide said. “I like the repaving, I like the expansion, I like that it still has a small-town feel here in the main area, but it’s from those personal things that I’ve been able to do to help people that feel like they’re disconnected from government – that’s really the main thing I love.”