Bettye Dobkins demoted; more grief at IMPD

Dateline: Tue 19 Jun 2007

This just in: Bettye Dobkins, a career cop, was busted down and out of her job as deputy chief of the Downtown IMPD district, a position she's held for years.

She also lost rank, being demoted from major to lieutenant.

Taking her place at the Downtown HQ is Darryl Pierce, the former deputy chief of the East District. So how come she gets busted and he gets her job?

Generally, the Downtown district, along with the South, are known for having the lowest crime rates; next is North and then East. Dobkins must have been doing her job well enough. And as a former reporter at the Star, I can attest that she always returned phone calls, always shared pertinent information and always had a sense of humor. She was great to work with. I've met Pierce and found him personable on the street, but the guy hardly ever returned my calls. And he was never around when I did call. Maybe the cop reporters have a different story; I'm just talking as an occasional caller. But if a guy won't call a reporter back, what about Mr. and Ms. Public?

Here's the other beef: Thirteen officers are major and above. Of those, only three were women: Bettye Dobkins, Eva Talley Sanders (Human

Resources) and deputy chief Pat Holman.

Also troubling -- Dobkins' spot as major was given to a man, Larry Jahnke -- a sheriff's department member who apparently lost his rank as a result of the merger. He was formerly the spokesman for the department on weekends and on a fill-in basis.

Worse is the appearance of sexism, if not the reality. Under the merged system, of 13 people major and above, only two are women, and they both work in administration, not in the districts.

This news brings renewed gripes about Sheriff Frank Anderson, who remains -- where are you, Sheriff?

This is no way to run a police department. Women make up half the city of Indy and there is a good presence of women working on the force. Why aren't they represented in top jobs? This is another example of the good old boys taking care of each other.

How passe. And how wrong.

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