Carmel reacts to police chief’s resignation days after deputy chief suspended

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — Less than a week after the Carmel deputy police chief was suspended, the city’s chief has resigned.

Carmel Police Department Chief Jeff Horner has resigned. On July 20, he suspended deputy chief Joe Bickel “due to multiple allegations of inappropriate behavior.” Horner had recommended that Bickel be terminated by the Carmel Police Merit Board, a suggestion supported by Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard.

A news release from the city government about noon Monday did not give a reason for Horner’s resignation, just that the Republican mayor accepted the action. Bickel became chief in February.

Later on Monday afternoon, city officials clarified that Horner will return to his previous position with the department as a lieutenant.

Carmel resident Gale Runberg said of Horner, “I believe he has a lot of experience, and Carmel can benefit from him staying on.”

Runberg also said, “I was very disappointed, very disappointed, but glad he took responsibility.”

Other Carmel residents who talked with News 8 want more transparency.

Carmel resident Bryndon Preston said, “I think I’m a little sadder than frustrated. I like transparency. That’s how I live my life.”

Preston added, “I would like to see them continue that journey of transparency and integrity and communication because I think we can work through almost anything if we communicate and are good to each other.”

Former chief Jim Barlow will return on an interim basis. Barlow was chief from June 2017 until his retirement in January 2022.