KOKOMO, Ind. (WISH) — A series of investigations at the Howard County Jail has prompted the firing of six officers, according to Howard County Sheriff Jerry Asher.
Asher said Friday the officers were fired after allegations of “improper activity” were deemed in violation of the department’s policies.
Allegations were first documented Dec. 3, when possible misconduct by Sgt. Jordan Carpenter was reported to the department’s Criminal Investigations Sections. According to the sheriff, two inmates accused Carpenter of making inappropriate comments to two female inmates at the jail.
Detectives interviewed the inmates and found the allegations against Carpenter to be credible. Carpenter also admitted to the allegations and said there was no physical contact between him and the women. Carpenter was then fired from his position.
On Feb. 3, another investigation into two officers was launched after reported misconduct. A female inmate accused Sgt. Noah Pyke and Cpl. Mychael Salinas of sexual battery. The officers were placed on administrative leave and interviewed by detectives.
Both Pyke and Salinas told detectives they had no sexual contact with an inmate; however investigators say the men violated policies by lying or being uncooperative during an investigation and committing conduct “unbecoming of an officer.” Investigators say Salinas also made “inappropriate sexual comments to an inmate.”
Both men were fired from their positions on Feb. 6.
Another officer, Trevon Johnson, was fired after investigators learned he “disclosed confidential information to Sgt. Pyke” in reference to the investigation into Pyke.
Officer Jonathan Snow was fired after investigators found he had made contact with a known felon. The action directly violated the department’s standards of conduct.
Allegations were made against another officer on Feb. 26. According to investigators, officer Tyler Swygert was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate. Investigators found Swygert violated policy and he was fired from his position.
Sheriff Asher says he has a “zero-tolerance policy” for the employee violations and as of Feb. 28, all correctional, medical, kitchen and clerical staff were given another training review. The fired employees had previously received the training necessary to comply with the department’s policies.
Asher released the following statement to News 8 Friday afternoon:
Recent incidents of misconduct by Howard County Jail personnel were reported to administrators and prompted the Criminal Investigation Division to conduct a thorough review resulting in the swift termination of six employees. Two incidents were referred to the Howard County Prosecutor’s Office. I have a zero-tolerance policy for violations of this nature. The actions of a few employees are not representative of the many men and women who work tirelessly and dedicate themselves to honoring the public’s trust as members of the Howard County Sheriff’s Office.”Howard County Sheriff Jerry Asher