Chesterton Police Chief Tim Richardson released a statement Thursday, June 16, regarding the shooting at the Best Western Indian Oak on Monday, June 13, the Town of Chesterton is reporting.
A 20-year-old Gary man has been charged with criminal recklessness.
“In light of this difficult case, the Chesterton PD wants to say the following.
“This case and many others illustrate how we as police administrators must always be cognizant of our responding officers’ and investigators’ mental health, post-incident. These traumatic cases leave an imprint in the minds of the law enforcement officers who respond to such scenes. I refer to them as ‘nicks.’ As police leaders we must monitor how many ‘nicks’ our officers sustain and their effect on the officers’ mental well-being. Too many ‘nicks’ become problematic and may overwhelm an officer or, for that matter, any other first-responder. This incident is a prime example of one of those ‘nicks’ which officers unfortunately take home with them. Over the past few weeks, CPD and assisting agencies have responded to several difficult cases in Chesterton, of the sort that may leave a nick.
“The CPD certainly feels for both individuals in this incident and we are deeply hopeful that they receive needed assistance. No one in the criminal justice setting took this case lightly, and over the past few days, solutions for finding them counseling and treatment have been discussed in sit-down meetings. Among all those involved in this investigation—the Porter County Sheriff’s Office’s CSI Unit, the CPD, and the Porter County Prosecutor’s Office—concern for these two individuals has been profound and unstinting.
“As a whole, the Porter County law enforcement community is growing increasingly aware of the challenges presented by mental health, both that of our citizens and of our officers themselves. It is tragically sad and also no secret that suicide rates among police officers are rising. To help its own officers come to terms with these issues, the Valparaiso PD recently introduced a mental health initiative within its department, a initiative which has spring-boarded to some of the smaller departments in Porter County, including the CPD. We are currently vetting programs intended to provide mental health resources and counselors not only to our police officers when needed but also to members of the community with whom we come in contact. These programs will evolve, but everyone in Porter County law enforcement agrees that this is one of our top priorities in the profession over the next few years.
“For our part here at Chesterton PD, we will take the time to debrief these tough incidents and scenes in-house, to get our officers talking about their own nicks and what they may need to heal.”