Former Sgt. Darren Baumberger left the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office nearly two weeks ago after Sheriff Dave Wedding recommended that he be fired by the Merit Board. . Through a records request, Eyewitness News has learned new details about the former deputy's departure including a buy-out of his remaining vacation time and whether Baumberger would receive part of his pension.
Baumberger, who was a 15 year veteran of the VCSO, remains at the center of a criminal investigation being conducted by the Indiana State Police.
On the afternoon of Thursday, June 12th, Sheriff Dave Wedding announced that he would ask the Merit Board to fire Sgt. Darren Baumberger. Sheriff Wedding released the four disciplinary charges he filed against Baumberger which included one count of Unlawful Conduct, two counts of Improper Conduct and a count of Conduct Unbecoming.
As we first reported, Baumberger had been the subject of an internal investigation for the better part of two months after a woman filed a formal complaint against him alleging that he had stalked and harassed her.
On June 12th, Just minutes after Sheriff Wedding announced that he had recommended that Baumberger be terminated by the Merit Board, Baumberger tendered his resignation, saying that he was retiring.
According to documents obtained through a records request, Baumberger e-mailed Sheriff Wedding at 2:09 pm.
"Effective today, I would like to render [sic] my resignation and retire. I have other employment opportunities that I'm pursuing," Baumberger said in the email. Baumberger also said that he had close to 30 days of vacation and personal time remaining and asked that it start running until it's completed.
Based on his salary that amounts to close to $5,000 dollars.
Whether Baumberger actually resigned or retired is a matter of semantics, according to Sheriff Wedding, because Baumberger will receive his pension regardless. Because Baumberger left the VCSO before the 20 year mark, he will receive a significantly smaller portion of his pension back.
Baumberger's depature also leaves a void at the agency's training unit. The agency is looking to find a replacement quickly to fill the training coordinator position.
As far as the criminal investigation into Baumberger is concerned, Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Ringle said it's still ongoing and it's in it's early stages.
The internal investigation into Sgt. Darren Baumberger is now over and so is his tenure at the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office. In a major update to a story Eyewitness News first broke, just minutes after Sheriff Dave Wedding announced he would ask the Merit Board to fire Baumberger, the troubled sergeant tendered his resignation, Wedding said.
On the other hand, Baumberger told Eyewitness News that he retired. Whatever the case may be, Baumberger is still at the center of a criminal investigation, according to Sheriff Wedding.
Baumberger was one month shy of 15 years at the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office but that anniversary will never come. The veteran deputy is now a former deputy.
While Baumberger may no longer be employed at the sheriff's office, he's still at the center of a criminal investigation. During the internal investigation, authorities came across information that suggested Baumberger had engaged in past criminal behavior. This information, according to Sheriff Wedding, was unrelated to the internal investigation.
Sheriff Wedding said he approached Indiana State Police investigators late last week and asked them to investigate the matter. ISP agreed.
Baumberger had been the subject of a two month long internal investigation, prompted by a woman's complaint that alleged Baumberger had stalked her and harassed her. The internal investigation was complex, according to Sheriff Wedding, and it included numerous interviews.
After the conclusion of the internal investigation earlier this week, Sheriff Wedding filed four disciplinary charges against Baumberger. The charges included Unlawful Conduct, two counts of Improper Conduct and Conduct Unbecoming.
Sheriff Wedding filed the first charge, Unlawful Conduct, after Baumberger allegedly admitted to deputies handling the internal investigation that he had threatened the woman by telling her he would reveal a sexually explicit photo of her to her employer, according to the charging documents.
The same allegation was made by the woman in the temporary protective order she filed against him. However, Judge Wayne Trockman denied the permanent protective order and dismissed the woman's case on Wednesday. Judge Trockman said the allegations didn't rise to the level of granting a permanent protective order. Hours after the protective order was dismissed, sheriff's deputies responded to a harassment complaint at the woman's house, according to Central Dispatch. Baumberger had allegedly driven by the house and taunted the woman, according to witnesses on the scene.
The second and third disciplinary charge Baumberger faces, Improper Conduct - Truthfulness and Participation in an Administrative Investigation and Improper Conduct - Truthfulness, stem from Baumberger repeatedly making allegedly false statements to detectives before and during the internal investigation.
Conduct Unbecoming, the final disciplinary charge filed by Sheriff Wedding, alleges that Baumberger failed to conduct himself, both on and off duty, in a manner which is in keeping with the highest standards of the law enforcement profession.
Baumberger has not commented and his disciplinary hearing has been canceled. The criminal investigation continues.
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