TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Indiana State Police is investigating reports of actions taken by Vigo County Special Deputies on Aug. 23 at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds.
Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing and the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office requested an investigation of allegations against as many as four special deputies.
In an interview with Sheriff Ewing, he explained these employees working for a security company for Scheid Diesel were deputized specifically for the event. This was done to give them limited powers for extra safety within the fairgrounds.
“Those limited powers were to ensure the safety of the people at the fairgrounds so we could concentrate on the outskirts of the fairgrounds to ensure the safety of our entire community,” said Sheriff Ewing.
The powers included giving certain citations on the private property.
Motorists at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds claim these special deputies, who were non-payroll, were issuing citations for several different offenses. They were then told they could pay a cash amount instead of the citations being taken to court.
Some reportedly took this cash option but later summoned law enforcement to report the actions.
Ewing stated he feels this violated his trust in giving them those powers.
“Look what happened. Look what happened! Am I mad?! You better believe I’m mad. And let justice fall where it may,” said Sheriff Ewing.
Sheriff Ewing said this not only violates his trust in these special deputies, but also the community’s.
“They were assigned a specific duty and a detail to ensure all the people attending that event, that there was some semblance of order. And then to do that. Yeah, it’s bad. It puts a black mark on everybody.”
The motorists state the special deputies were wearing tan deputy sheriff t-shirts, driving their personal vehicles with the sheriff signs attached to the exterior and utilizing red and blue lights.
Indiana State Police request any motorists who were approached by these special deputies inside the fairgrounds, written a citation and then offered the cash option to contact ISP at (765) 653-4114.
This is an on-going investigation and may take weeks to track down all who were affected since some were from out of state. Indiana State Police also wish to acknowledge these actions were not endorsed by the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office and these actions did not involve any full-time payroll deputies.