IMPD to change breathalyzer policy for officers

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi, left, with Frank Straub, Public Safety Director

Sandra Chapman/13 Investigates

Indianapolis - The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is making policy changes. It's a direct result of the deadly crash involving Officer David Bisard. From now on, police officers involved in any accident will be required to take a breathalyzer test.

Last week, prosecutors dropped all DUI-related charges against the officer because blood tests were not taken by a certified medical official.

Moments after crashing into a group of motorcyclists and killing 30-year-old Eric Wells, Officer David Bisard placed a black duffel bag inside a police cruiser. The contents are unknown.

It's one piece of evidence the Wells' family wants preserved. In a letter to Public Safety Director Frank Straub, the family is demanding the safe-keeping of the bag, cell phone records of all officers on the scene, and their electronic messages the day of the crash.

"We need to know that this is been accomplished. And the longer we wait, the greater the likelihood that something could be lost, destroyed, misplaced and we don't want that to happen," said Marvin Coan, Wells family attorney.

The family sent a similar letter to IMPD Chief Paul Ciesielski more than two weeks ago but got no response. Now they're threatening to seek a legal court order if assurances don't come by next Tuesday.

Director Frank Straub says it's up to the city's legal team to respond, but in light of the crash, he wants to implement mandatory breathalyzers on the scene of any IMPD accident.

"One of the things that has jumped out quickly is the fire department for any vehicle accident gives firefighters a breathalyzer at the scene. My sense is we'll be moving very quickly in that direction," said Straub.

The family also wants to "obtain all credit card invoices from Officer Bisard between August 1st and 7th and "copies of all communications between FOP President Bill Owensby any agent or employee of the FOP...with Bisard or his attorney." They also want to know who called the shots that day.

"We certainly think it's reasonable that there would be some determination made at the scene as to whether or not alcohol was present in his vehicle," said Coan.

Attorneys are giving IMPD less than a week to respond saying, "We again request a written official response and assurances that all relevant documents, recordings and other evidence have been collected and placed in a secure location. Unless we receive your written response by noon on Tuesday, August 31st, with the necessary assurances, we will have no alternative but to file a Petition with the court."

Governor Mitch Daniels says the investigation into what happened in the deadly crash involving Officer David Bisard is a local matter, but he's glad the FBI is involved.

He said, "They've gone to the highest authority at the federal level and I think for the moment we ought to let the investigation follow its course."

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