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Knightstown Police Department left with one full-time officer after mass resignations

KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind. (WISH) — The Knightstown Police Department was staffed by one full-time officer, two part-time officers and three reserve officers after employees resigned en masse over disagreements with the town council, a local official confirmed Thursday.

Frank Beatrice also remained employed as the department’s full-time interim chief.

His appointment by the town council sparked complaints among officers after chief Chris Newkirk was placed on medical leave for a shoulder injury.

The status of Newkirk’s employment had not changed Thursday.

Long-standing frustrations over the town’s handling of police affairs boiled over when Beatrice was selected for the interim role ahead of a detective with more law enforcement experience, according to a former officer who resigned in protest.

Approximately a dozen officers resigned from the police department in June, employees and residents said.

Town officials maintained the mass resignations would not have a significant impact on public safety and vowed to maintain a law enforcement presence “24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“We do have a Knightstown Police Department,” Beth Huffman, the town’s clerk treasurer, said in an email to News 8.

Officer resignations and complaints were expected to be addressed during Thursday’s town council meeting.