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Yorktown town marshal resigns within months of taking job, citing online harassment

Resignation effective in June, town manager says
Yorktown police
Posted at 1:51 PM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 16:23:11-04

YORKTOWN — The top police official in Yorktown has resigned from the position after a little more than four months in the role.

Town Marshal Shane Ginnan submitted his resignation Friday, effective June 10, Yorktown Town Manager Pete Olson told WRTV.

In a letter to the Town Council, Ginnan wrote that the deciding factor was online harassment against his family.

He wrote the following:

While I think I could continue to make change for the better the detractors in the community seem to be unrelenting even though many have never met me. The event that solidified my departure was when some of the people who use Facebook as a weapon attempted to contact my wife and daughter. While I accepted the fact that I need to face the slings and arrows of my office it crosses the line when my family is brought into the fight. In nearly twenty-one years at my former job no one ever attempted to bring my family into a perceived fight or disagreement they had with me or a decision I had made in my office.

Ginnan added that he hoped to make a difference in what was supposed to be his last law enforcement job before retiring, but that it seemed "impossible given the situation."

Ginnan took office the first week of January, according to Olson.

"We hate to see him go," Olson said. "He was doing some really good things."

Lon Fox, an at-large Yorktown Town Council member, announced Ginnan's resignation Friday morning.

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"I believe he was set to be a great agent of change for good in our police department. Ginnan was launching many great next steps for Yorktown: body cameras, dashboard cameras, opportunities for our officers to better connect with students and children so that police are more likely to be seen as a resource and a friend, and bike patrols which offers our officers a great space to connect and interact with our residents," Fox said in a written statement.

Fox wrote that a search process for the next town marshal will begin "once the council has had a chance to consider its options."

Olson said it will be up to the Town Council to determine what the process to find Ginnan's replacement will be. The town previously accepted applications for the job before the council voted to approve Ginnan as the final candidate.

"It will be some form and fashion of that," Olson said, adding that someone may fill in in the interim.

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When asked about Ginnan's reasons for resigning, Olson said he could not speak for him but noted that the town's police department had experienced some personnel issues and that Ginnan faced some resistance from within the community to internal changes to the department.

"Some of those voices started reaching his family," Olson said. "He made a decision that was best for him and his family."

Olson commended Ginnan's efforts to bring "a new level of professionalism" to the department and said he felt steps like working to get body cameras for officers and starting community outreach programs helped with local policing.

WRTV has reached out to Ginnan and Fox for additional comment.

In late March, Ginnan said he would pull Yorktown officers from the Delaware County SWAT team, then reversed course two days later. He said in a public letter that he incorrectly thought Indiana State Police SWAT team could respond to calls for assistance in Yorktown within 30 minutes.

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Ginnan said the decision came as a result of a shortage of officers. The call was subject to criticism from Delaware County Sheriff Tony Skinner.

That same month, the Town Council voted to suspend Yorktown Officer Blake Barnard on allegations he failed to arrest his brother after discovering he was involved in a suspected residential burglary last November.

A charging document alleges Blake Barnard made no record of damages to the property and did not take any witness or victim statements or incident reports.

Ginnan advised that Barnard be fired, writing in a recommendation to the Town Council that he "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."

Barnard is a 10-year veteran of the department.