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Commission hears from officers demoted in Bisard fallout

Crime, Law and JusticeCrime

The three top officers demoted in the aftermath of the David Bisard crash investigation had the opportunity to tell their side of the story to the law enforcement study commission Wednesday night.

For nearly two hours IMPD Commanders Darryl Pierce, Deputy Ron Hicks and John Connelly told commissioners they were unjustly removed from their positions simply for doing their jobs and doing them well.

The commanders were demoted for supposedly loosing control of the accident investigation last summer.

"Nothing can be further from the truth," said Lt. Darryl Pierce.

The officers told the commission they were only able to spend 40 minutes at the scene, which they came to voluntarily, because Police Chief Paul Ciesielski ordered them to his office for a meeting.

"The chief said, 'don't be late for the meeting.' If that's not an order I don't know what is," Pierce continued. 

Several times, before and after the meeting, the officers say they explained the gravity of the situation to their boss to no avail. 

"He did not respond to what we spoke or ask any questions about the accident. I don't know how much information is needed for him to comprehend the incident was serious," Pierce said.

They defended every one of their actions including not knowing that Officer Bisard was under the influence.

"I did not smell alcohol on officer Bisard's person," Pierce admitted.

They defended the location where Officer Bisard was taken for his blood draw.

"Our general orders were clear that that's where he needed to go if he was injured," said Deputy John Connelly, who added that he felt they left the scene in capable hands.

"We followed the protocols and the practices of this police department. We followed them to the T."

They said the criticism they've received from the executive board has hurt them both personally and professionally and the demotions have been an insult to their combined 80 years of service.

"The citizens of this city and this police department mean everything to me everything. And at no time would we do anything to compromise an investigation on something like this," said Connelly.

The commission plans to develop a report based on the officers' testimony and pass along their recommendations to the city.

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