CLIFFORD — Town Marshal Charles DeWeese has a unique challenge — serving as a town law enforcement officer without a police car. For the past three months, DeWeese has been going on police calls in the town northeast of Columbus in his personal vehicle, a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer, as town members continue a search for a used police vehicle. His sport-utility vehicle has no flashing lights or sirens, so DeWeese can’t make traffic stops or transport anyone to the Bartholomew County Jail. He calls the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department for assistance if any circumstance comes up requiring a regular police vehicle.
DeWeese, who retired from Cummins Inc. with more than 35 years of service, also works for a local auction service and serves as a Bartholomew County deputy coroner. He provides marshal duties for the town — which had a 2016 population of 235 — from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. due to his daytime responsibilities, with the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department routinely called for emergencies in the town, said Danny James, Clifford Town Board president. Several years ago, DeWeese was paid about $4,000 a year. But when the town’s finances tightened, he and other town officials agreed to not take any salary, so he is now working without pay, he said.
“Small towns can’t afford to pay someone the same way a deputy or city officer would be paid,” DeWeese said. “I just enjoy helping people and helping the town.”
For more on this story, see Saturday’s Republic.