“We’re supposed to uphold the law, not break it”

File Photo
File Photo

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – After a Wabash Valley sheriff’s deputy was charged with using excessive force this week, other law enforcement agencies talk about the aftermath.

“We’re supposed to uphold the law, not break it,” said Chief John Plasse, Terre Haute Police Department (THPD).

A Wabash Valley deputy accused of using excessive force on duty – another convicted of possession of child pornography.

These are just two examples of incidents law enforcement agencies have to worry about.

“When something like this hits the news, just the allegation itself makes police officers look bad,” Plasse explained.

THPD and the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department haven’t seen an increase yet in reports of police brutality or excessive force as aftermath to this recent event.

And they say it happens less than we think.

“Less than half of one percent. And the reason it is a big deal, because obviously, it is a position of trust,” said Sheriff Greg Ewing. “I think sometimes it does cause you to have a heightened awareness like everyone’s staring at you. But I think generally, people realize these cases are very isolated.”

But that’s because they hope their officers and deputies remember they’re held to a higher standard.

“Luckily, it doesn’t happen a lot because when you’re in this profession, you know you’re held to a higher standard. You know, you’re not above the law. And if you overstep that line, you’ll be held accountable,” said Plasse.

They do regret how these situations put a black eye on their profession.

“You try to get the public’s trust, when they feel you’ve violated something. We try to work through that year-round. When you do something like that, violate their trust, it’s going to be hard to work back to get,” explained Plasse.

“Our position is a position of trust. That we’re going to do what we are required to do and that is to uphold the law, not violate it,” said Sheriff Ewing.

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