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Carmel police deputy chief resigns following allegations of inappropriate behavior

Joe Bickel is accused of groping an employee's breast, attempting to forcibly kiss a different employee, and kissing the hand and neck of another employee.

CARMEL, Ind. — Carmel's deputy police chief is stepping down following allegations of inappropriate behavior.

Deputy Chief Joe Bickel was the subject of allegations involving his conduct with several employees.

Just four weeks ago, Police Chief Jeff Horner removed Bickel from his position and recommended to the Carmel Police Merit Board that Bickel be dismissed from the department. 

State of Indiana Police Merit Law requires that Bickel retain his position with the department and his merit rank until a decision is made by the Carmel Police Merit Board.

The allegations against Bickel include the following claims: 

  • Groping a female employee's breast
  • Attempting to forcibly kiss a different female employee
  • Kissing the hand and neck of another female employee at a work-related event
  • Using his position of authority within the department to influence an employee to violate a departmental standard operating procedure for the benefit of a family member.

The merit board is closing their case after Bickel's departure from the department.

After learning of the allegations, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard immediately ordered an external investigation, and Bickel was suspended. 

"It is important that our employees, citizens and business owners have complete faith and trust in those who serve our community, especially those who are entrusted with our safety and security,” Brainard said in a news release. "I am disappointed that one of the key leaders in our police department did not uphold the high standards of conduct expected of those in positions of authority. All levels of our law enforcement team should reflect the excellence of our nationally-recognized and accredited Police Department, especially those who were chosen to set the example for all to follow."

The City of Carmel said further information on the allegations will not be released in order to protect the identity of the victims who made the complaints.

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