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Mayor Sue Finkam selects Drake Sterling as Carmel’s next chief of police

Drake Sterling (Provided Photo/The Hamilton County Reporter)

(THE HAMILTON COUNTY REPORTER) — An experienced police executive leader with more than 15 years of dedicated law enforcement service will serve as the new chief of police for the City of Carmel, Mayor Sue Finkam announced Thursday.

Drake Sterling will assume the role Feb. 29, providing the leadership and direction necessary to enable members of the Carmel Police Department to deliver the highest level of law enforcement services to the community.

“Drake is a one-of-a-kind leader in law enforcement as evidenced by recognition from his peers for excellence and devotion to duty,” Mayor Finkam said. “I greatly appreciate his enthusiastic leadership and desire to build a positive culture. Leading what I believe to be the best police department in the country, taking care of those who wear the uniform and working closely with me as we keep public safety the top priority, is a position that Drake is well-suited for, and I am delighted to have him join our leadership team.”

Sterling most recently served as Captain for Zionsville Police Department and the Assistant SWAT Commander for the Boone County Special Response Team. Through his various roles with the Zionsville Police Department, Sterling oversaw community outreach, patrol, investigations, training, budgeting, fleet management, contracts, and hiring. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, holds a graduate certificate in criminal justice from University of Virginia and is a graduate of both the Public Service Leadership Institute and the Indiana Police Chief Training Program. He is also a current member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Carmel is a city on the move, and I look forward to providing strong collaboration and leadership for the police officers and citizens of this community as we advance Mayor Finkam’s vision,” Chief Sterling said. “Leadership is challenging. We must be willing to meet people, both our employees and the citizens we serve, where they are at. We must do so with humility, patience, and respect for our differences. My leadership philosophy is rooted in three principles: establishing expectations, investing in people, and empowerment.”

“Chief Sterling understands a police department is not detached from nor separate from the community, but instead an extension of it,” Zionsville Police Chief Michael Spears said. “He is committed to transparency with the public and an active member of the community. He is committed and shows personal sacrifice to get the job done right. He will no doubt do the same for Carmel. I look forward to collaborating with Chief Sterling as a peer.”

Mayor Finkam involved community members, media, and police peers in the selection process and held extensive meetings, simulations, and interviews to assist in making a final decision.

“I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the selection process, especially the leadership of the Carmel Fraternal Order of Police, for their thoughtful and diligent work,” Mayor Finkam said. “This was an extremely difficult decision with so many exemplary candidates, and I would like to thank every applicant who put themselves forward to serve the City of Carmel.”

Chief Sterling will have a public swearing-in ceremony on March 12 with details announced at a later date.