GEORGETOWN, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Georgetown Town Council was in talks this year to have the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office provide police services, according to documents obtained under Indiana’s public records law.
Georgetown officials have refused to discuss possible changes to their police department, even as rumors have run rampant in the town of 3,300 people west of Louisville. That prompted the town council to issue a statement Sept. 16 saying it had no plans “at this time” to close the department or have the sheriff take over.
The town denied a request by WDRB News for months of correspondence involving its top elected officials on the matter, saying it’s protected under state law.
But emails sent in July and a related letter reveal that Floyd County Sheriff Frank Loop and Georgetown’s attorney discussed detailed terms of adding three sheriff’s officers, including the cost of salaries and benefits.
The sheriff’s office provided the communications to WDRB News on Tuesday in response to a public records request.
On July 22 at 2:31 p.m., Loop sent an email to Kristi Fox, Georgetown’s lawyer, with the subject line, “Georgetown Numbers.” In it, he laid out three years of costs associated with officers’ salaries, benefits, a car, uniforms and equipment.
He concluded the email by telling Fox, “I don’t think the Georgetown (sic) knows exactly what they are spending and how much they would save.”
Fox responded the same day at 5:08 p.m., telling Loop “the numbers seem higher than what I remember being talked about last week. I will pull my notes and talk with the Town and get back to you.”
Loop wrote a separate, undated letter to Fox with the subject line, “Georgetown Police Department.” It began: “After several conversations it seems that the talks of contract for police services may have stalled.”
The sheriff wrote that he had looked into the cost of providing three additional officers after speaking with Chris Loop, a town council member. The estimates, he continued, were “the lowest I can take to the County Council and County Commissioners for approval. I have no idea if they will approve it or not.”
Loop concluded his letter: “If Georgetown has decided not to continue talks or has decided to go in another direction where we can be of assistance please let me know.”
Loop wasn’t able to say Tuesday when that letter was sent.
Everett Pullen, the Georgetown town council president, told WDRB News he wasn’t familiar with the communications between Loop and Fox.
The correspondence doesn't refer to any potential disbanding of the town's existing department.
"We were told this was never even brought up," Georgetown resident Joanna Pryor said. "So we have proof now that it was brought up."
The town council voted last month to place Georgetown Police Chief Denny Kunkel and Sgt. Charlie Morgan on leave. The town has denied requests for records in the officers’ personnel files explaining the reasons for the actions, saying it’s not required to under Indiana law because no disciplinary actions have been taken.
But the council acknowledged the two were removed from their positions as part of an investigation into “alleged misconduct.”
Indiana State Police is investigating.
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