EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – An apparent rift between Evansville Police officers and the head of the department has reached a tipping point. A vote of no-confidence on Wednesday could bring concerns from the rank-and-file to the public eye.
EPD members of the Fraternal Order of Police will make it clear how they feel about Chief Billy Bolin.
FOP President, D.J. Thompson says there are “concerns” about EPD leadership, but he was not willing to explain the issues Tuesday.
Ahead of Wednesday’s vote, signs posted outside Lodge 73 say “be heard.”
Mayor Lloyd Winnecke’s confidence hasn’t budged, however. He believes the two sides can work out whatever has them divided.
“Chief Billy Bolin and his command staff have my unequivocal support,” Winnecke said. “I think it’s unfortunate they’ve gotten to this point.”
The vote is symbolic and non-binding. The Mayor is the only man who can hire, or fire, the chief of police. Winnecke said he is pleased with the way Bolin has interacted with the public in his tenure.
Bolin became chief when Winnecke took office in 2012.
Chief Bolin declined an interview Tuesday, but in a post on Facebook, he says he plans to remain in charge regardless of the outcome. He said via text, the vote is “irrational.”
Winnecke is aware the two sides have differences and called it a “labor and management situation.” He does not believe they rise to the level of a no-confidence vote.
“None of the issues are so serious that a Mayor should have to jump in and help navigate.”
Thompson said more information is expected to be released on Thursday.
“There should be a good solid working relationship,” Winnecke explained. “That doesn’t mean they’re going to agree all the time. I suspect you don’t always agree with your boss.”
The no-confidence vote is open to 290 EPD members of the FOP from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
And on Facebook Chief Billy Bolin is receiving a lot of support from his colleagues, family, friends and community members. People have been posting on his Facebook page all day and putting an “I stand with Chief Bolin” image on his Facebook page.
This story was originally published on September 17, 2019