YORKTOWN, Ind. — A Yorktown police officer has been suspended for six months without pay on allegations he failed to arrest his brother after discovering he was involved in a suspected residential burglary last November.
Officer Blake Barnard, a 10-year veteran of the department, is accused of failing to take his brother Brayden Barnard into custody after finding him intoxicated while trying to break into an apartment complex on Nov. 7, 2021, according to charging documents.
The Yorktown Town Council on Tuesday voted for Officer Barnard's suspension, according to Town Manager Pete Olson. This came despite the town marshal's recommendation that he be fired.
Officer Barnard was one of two Yorktown officers responding last November to a reported burglary in progress in the 1400 block of South Colony Drive. The document alleges Officer Barnard thought the suspect could be his brother and told one of the victims that the situation was a misunderstanding.
He and the other officer later found Brayden Barnard "highly intoxicated," the document alleges. At that point, Officer Barnard took him took his brother to his apartment and dropped him off. Officer Barnard did not conduct proper interviews or file paperwork for the call and told the other officer there was no need for paperwork or charging information.
Officer Barnard made no record of damages to the property, witness or victim statements or incident reports, the document alleges.
The situation later came to the Police Department's attention when witnesses asked about how the case was handled.
Indiana State Police Sgt. Coley McCutcheon said Ginnan contacted ISP to investigate the matter, under instructions from the Delaware County Prosecutor's Office.
"Forthwith, a thorough investigation from our agency was conducted and the completed findings have been sent to (the) prosecutor’s office for review," Coley said.
Then, in February, Brayden Barnard was charged with two felony counts of residential entry and a misdemeanor count of criminal mischief, according to online court records.
Yorktown Town Marshal Shane Ginnan asked that the Town Council find Officer Barnard on charges of neglect of duty, failure to enforce the law, failure to be alert, conduct unbecoming an officer and violating the oath of office, according to the document.
In a recommendation to the council, Ginnan argued that Officer Barnard "did not act with the best interest of the victims/citizens of Yorktown in mind," and demonstrated "a general indifference toward his duty and the citizenry."
Ginnan wrote, "Due to the multiple and egregious violations of policy and procedure I am requesting that officer Blake Barnard be terminated from the Yorktown Police Department. These violations are of the highest level and I believe the only way to repair the damage done by Officer Barnard is termination. Furthermore, he shows no sign that he understands that what he did was wrong, improper or that it violated policy or criminal law. He did not take any measures to remove himself from the call so that there would be no conflict or sense of impropriety. ..."
He continued, "When an officer violates the public trust, it damages the entire agency and takes us time to repair or reputation and rebuild trust. The first step in rebuilding that trust is to show our citizens that they matter to us and that officers who do not impartially discharge their duties do not have a place in our organization."
Ginnan was not available for further comment Friday.