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June 21, 2009

Galligan apologizes for police conduct

Mayor says investigation into Wilder photos underway

JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan on Sunday apologized to Larry Wilder’s family for pictures taken of the city council’s attorney passed out in a trash can Wednesday morning.

Galligan said it is still under investigation who took and distributed the photographs, but Jeffersonville Police Chief Tim Deeringer confirmed they were taken by a camera issued by the police department.

“When someone becomes a police officer in the city of Jeffersonville, they take an oath to protect and serve the people of this city,” Galligan said at a press conference on Sunday afternoon. “Earlier this week, one or two officers ignored that oath and allowed their personal or political motivations to interfere with their work.”

Wilder said in an interview with The Evening News on Friday that he wanted the police officer who took the photos to apologize to his children. The apology, instead, came from the mayor.

“I apologize personally — and as mayor — to the children and family of Larry Wilder for the pain that you have endured at the hands of one or two errant officers,” Galligan said.

Galligan said he called the press conference because several citizens approached him with concerns that a similar situation could happen to them if police officers wanted to embarrass them.

He said police officers should treat everyone with “dignity and professionalism” and called the unknown officer who took the photos a “renegade.”

Galligan would not comment whether the police officer(s) involved would be disciplined. When asked if this was a matter for the police merit board to handle, he said, “it’s going to be a matter for the mayor.” However, he did have ominous words for the officer(s) involved.

“We are going to take appropriate action to ensure that no police officer will be comfortable abusing their authority again,” Galligan said.

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