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Carmel police chief recommends deputy chief's termination after 'pattern of troubling behavior' is uncovered

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jul 20, 2022

CARMEL — The Carmel Police Department chief is recommending a deputy chief be terminated after an investigation found "a pattern of troubling behavior."

In a press release from the city on Wednesday, Chief Jeff Horner has recommended the Carmel Police Merit Board terminates Joe Bickel after an investigation into allegations he groped the breast of a female employee, tried to forcibly kiss another female employee and kissed the hand and neck of another female employee at a work-related event.

The investigation also looked into allegations he attempted to use his position to influence another police department employee to violate an operating procedure to benefit a family member, according to the release.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard ordered an external investigation and suspended Bickel, according to the release. The release also states Horner "removed" Bickel from his position as deputy chief, but says state police merit law requires Bickel to retain his position and merit rank until a decision is made by the Carmel Police Merit Board.

WRTV reached out to the city spokespeople by email for additional clarification and was told "the City of Carmel has no further comments or updates about this matter at this time."

“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," Brainard said in the press release. "I fully support Chief Horner’s decision to recommend Bickel’s termination because doing so is necessary to maintain the integrity and reputation of our Carmel Police Department."