Former Lake Station police chief accused of inaction on gun permit applications

2012-03-28T18:15:00Z 2012-03-28T22:45:37Z Former Lake Station police chief accused of inaction on gun permit applicationsBy Deborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | Former Police Chief Michael Stills failed, over a four-year period, to forward about 30 gun permit applications to the state, Police Chief Kevin Garber said.

"These applications and money orders, some dating back as far as 2008, have since expired," Garber said Wednesday.

Garber was sworn in Jan. 1 as the department's police chief, replacing Stills, who served as a longtime chief.

Stills, who retired from the department Feb. 21, was notified by Garber in early February about the findings.

Stills could not be reached for comment. A family member said he was out of town.

Garber said he discovered the numerous gun permit applications when he began conducting an inventory of Stills' office Jan. 1.

Gun permit applications by law must be signed off by the acting police chief before being sent to the Indiana State Police, Garber said.

Many of the gun permits, and accompanying checks or money orders, are not valid and have expired.

"It's a big mess," Garber said.

Members of the administration are sending out letters to people whose applications were found at the Police Department.

"The Lake Station Police Department apologizes for the inconvenience this has caused the citizens. The administration assures the community that a full investigation into the matter is being conducted with the assistance of investigators from the Indiana State Police," Garber said.

Garber said it's unclear at this time whether Stills will face any charges.

"There's a lot of questions to be answered, and we're just at the beginning stage," he said.

Investigators are asking that anyone who turned in a gun permit application and never received a permit to contact Garber by email at Kgarber@lakestation-in.gov.

A receipt is required to receive a refund, Garber said.

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