Bicknell residents voice concerns over lack of police presence

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KNOX Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The city of bicknell has a small population of less than 3,000, its public safety problems are big.

Bicknell’s Board of Public Works and Safety met Thursday to vote to change the status of its police chief.

The residents of Bicknell have been without a strong police presence for quite some time.

“We’re down to two police officers. We’ve had a very hard time keep police officers because of the pay. You know, it’s a small town,” said City Councilman Rod Mullins.

Police Chief Terry Stremming is charged with a felony for allegedly assaulting a county employee and getting into a physical altercation with another officer in April of 2019.

“He had previously been on paid administrative leave, but since he has not been formally charged by a prosecutor his status has been changed to unpaid administrative leave,” said Brickell Mayor Thomas Estabrook.

Because there are so few officers patrolling from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m., Bicknell gets some help from the Knox County Sheriff’s office. But some say it’s not enough.

“We’re working on an agreement to pay the county sheriff’s department a certain amount of money and the sheriff’s department will furnish officers to full-time handle the hours that we don’t have officers,” Mullins said.

The possible agreement leaves some Bicknell residents concerned.

Some showed up to be heard at City Hall Thursday morning, but were cut short after a three minute meeting where things got heated.

One resident came ready with a possible solution.

“Let’s just go to a town status and get rid of the mayor and a majority of those council members up there and go to a town board,” said Lydia Duncan.

Some residents said they believe going to a town status will save their tax dollars as well as money the city would spend the sheriff’s office for more deputies on patrol in the evening.

According to officials, the agreement between the city of Bicknell and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office has not yet been reached.

The next council meeting is scheduled for August 12.

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