MARK KIESLING: Indiana trooper arrested on assault charge

2012-08-15T00:00:00Z MARK KIESLING: Indiana trooper arrested on assault charge nwitimes.com
August 15, 2012 12:00 am

An Indiana State Police trooper was arrested Tuesday in a case which could have automatically cost him his job, but now won't.

Jason E. Allen, 27, of Merrillville, posted a $500 bond Tuesday and was released on the charge of simple assault.

According to court records, the incident for which he was charged happened July 18. He was charged Monday.

Why might this have cost him his job? Because a case of domestic battery (a felony charge) would cause him, if found guilty, to have to give up his gun.

You can imagine a police officer without a gun. It's sort of like watching Barney Fife rooting through his pockets for a bullet.

But simple assault, which is a misdemeanor, would not cost Allen his job nor his ability to carry a firearm.

Cmdr. David Bursten, of the Indiana State Police public information office, said Allen has been reassigned to administrative duty with the Indiana Toll Road.

He was previously assigned to Toll Road patrol duty, Bursten said.

"He was alleged to have battered a woman," Bursten said. "We conducted the investigation and forwarded it to the Lake County prosecutor."

Bursten said Allen has been with the Indiana State Police since December 2007.

"He has (been placed on) administrative duty with the Toll Road, and he has been charged with two counts of battery.

"The thing is he is not engaged in law enforcement duty. He has no police powers and does not carry a weapon.

"He is being treated like a civilian employee until this is resolved."

Attempts to reach Allen were not successful on Tuesday afternoon.

OK, this is not the first time a police officer has been charged in a domestic violence case. The most recent local example I know of happened a year ago.

Gary Police Officer Jarrett Bridgeman, 44, was accused of hitting his girlfriend in the face and throwing a jar at the woman as she fled their Gary apartment Aug. 27, 2011, with her two children and a grandchild.

"Before I lose my job, I'm going to make it worthwhile," Bridgeman is alleged to have told the woman before threatening to kick her down the stairs.

The woman told police the incident began when Bridgeman is alleged to have flown into a rage while talking on the phone with the mother of his children.

When he hung up, Bridgeman came up to her with a bottle as if he was going to hit her with it before hitting her in the face with his hand, according to an affidavit.

The affidavit also notes an incident occurring July 18 in which Bridgeman is accused of pushing the woman off of a bed and hitting her in the face.

Bridgeman has a hearing set for mid-September. Both these cases show these situations may happen anywhere.

But it shouldn't.

The opinion is solely that of the writer. He can be reached at mark.kiesling@nwi.com or (219) 933-4170.

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