News and HeadlinesPublic Safety


Carmel Police Chief resigns within days of recommending deputy chief's termination

Carmel outgoing chief Jeff Horner
Posted at 1:01 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 15:12:59-04

CARMEL — Carmel Police Chief Jeff Horner has resigned from his position less than a week after herecommended the termination of the department's deputy chief.

Horner recommended the termination of Deputy Chief Joe Bickel after an investigation found "a pattern of troubling behavior," including allegations of sexual assault and harassment, according to a Wednesday news release from the city.

On Monday, five days after the fact, the city announced Mayor James Brainard had accepted Horner's resignation, appointing retired Police Chief Jim Barlow to serve in the role until a permanent replacement is chosen.

The city clarified that when a Police Chief resigns, they would revert back to their merit position on the police force. Horner will remain in the department as a Lieutenant.

Specifically, the investigation of Bickel stemmed from 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.

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."

Barlow served as Chief from June of 2017 until January of this year when he retired.

WRTV has reached out to Brainard and other city representatives for more information on Horner's resignation but was told in an email, "The City has no further comment on this matter."