Griffith Safety Board: 'Gross misconduct' led to demotion of chief, lieutenant

2012-11-09T14:48:00Z 2012-11-11T02:03:08Z Griffith Safety Board: 'Gross misconduct' led to demotion of chief, lieutenantMarc Chase marc.chase@nwi.com, (219) 662-5330 nwitimes.com
November 09, 2012 2:48 pm  • 

GRIFFITH | Griffith's former police chief and his second-in-command were demoted following allegations of "gross misconduct" within the department, a town letter made public Friday states.

In an Oct. 23 letter from Griffith Safety Board Chairman Jim Marker to the Town Council, Marker notes a 5-0 decision by the board to recommend removing then-Chief Ronald Kottka and Lt. Michael Gulley from their positions.

Kottka and Gulley since have been demoted to the rank of sergeant by the Griffith Town Council — at the recommendation of the Griffith Safety Board — sparking town hall protests by some of the former chief's supporters.

"The Safety Board had reviewed allegations of gross misconduct within the police administration, including multiple complaints against Police Chief Kottka," the letter states.

Neither Kottka nor Gulley returned calls by The Times on Friday seeking comment.

However, more than 100 residents rallied Thursday at the Safety Board meeting in protest of the former chief's and lieutenant's demotions.

Marker's letter does not detail specific allegations against Kottka or Gulley. Griffith Town Councilman Rick Ryfa confirmed Friday the allegations remain under review by the Safety Board.

But the letter goes on to contend "that irreparable damage has occurred within the police department due to the behavior and policies of the police administration."

When contacted by The Times on Friday, Marker said the Safety Board reviewed the internal allegations and determined them to be valid. The board is consulting with its attorneys to determine what further steps should be taken, including possible internal or external investigations.

Marker declined to discuss or detail the specific allegations.

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