Reported By: Jordan Vandenberge
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 sexuall 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.