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Police chief to step down

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Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix announced his retirement Tuesday, saying he is leaving May 20 for a new job at Cummins Inc.

He is being replaced as police chief by Administrative Capt. Jon Rohde, who has been with the department since 2001, Mayor Kristen Brown said.

“Captain Rohde will have enormous shoes to fill,” she said.

Maddix, who was appointed by Brown as police chief when she took office Jan. 1, 2012, will be Cummins’ North American security adviser.

It was an opportunity that came unexpectedly, and one he said he could not pass up, Maddix said.

He will be based in Columbus, something he described as a big bonus.

Maddix has 20 years of seniority as a police officer, meaning he qualifies for his pension as he moves into this private-sector opportunity.

What he’ll miss most is the collaborative effort and the camaraderie at the police department, he said.

“All the officers, everyone here, we’re like a family,” he said.

Maddix made the announcement at the Columbus Board of Works meeting.

“Jason’s just done an absolutely outstanding job the last few years,” Brown said. “He’s taken the police department to an all-new level with a very ambitious vision and goals for the department.”

Maddix joined the Columbus Police Department in 1994 after working two years as a patrolman in Mount Vernon, where he grew up.

In his 18 years with the Columbus department, he worked as a patrolman for five years, and then moved into investigations as a detective for about 11 years. He was also the department’s polygraph examiner. He took a brief break from CPD from January 2008 to July 2009 when he worked for Irwin Union Bank as a fraud department manager.

Maddix and Rohde share a commitment to finishing the three-year national Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies process that began in 2012 — something they said is extremely important to both of them. Rohde is supervising the accreditation process.

That commission sets 184 standards that police departments must meet to achieve accreditation. It’s a voluntary process, and this is the first time the department has attempted to achieve it, Maddix said.

The standards will help the department “be better than we are now” and find more ways to improve community safety, he said.

The accreditation shows that the department cares about what it is doing, how officers are doing it and making sure local procedures meet national standards, he said.

Maddix highlights

Maddix said his focuses have been getting back to community policing and being more proactive in response to crime.

Starting the school resource officer program, which began in January, was another important initiative, Maddix said. The department had been talking about it for nearly all the 18 years Maddix served on the force.

Columbus Police officers were assigned to high schools and middle schools in a cooperative effort with Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp.

Rohde’s opportunity

Rohde joined the CPD in March 2001 and served seven years as a uniformed officer.

He has served on and led the department’s narcotics and vice unit as a detective and sergeant. He also coordinated large-quantity drug and money seizures with federal and state agencies including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Marshals.

“I’m deeply humbled to be given this opportunity,” he said. “This is not about me, this is about our service to the community (and) the direction of the police department to make the city of Columbus a better place.”

“Chief Maddix has done an excellent job. He’s been a mentor to me, and I’m going to miss him,” Rohde said.

Rohde said Maddix has developed a solid foundation for the department to build from and that he doesn’t anticipate a great number of changes, as the two officers share like-minded goals and vision.

While finishing up the accreditation process, Rohde plans to look at how the police department is using technology, and ways technology could make the department more efficient.

Rohde said he wants to use criminal intelligence software, for example, to analyze data that is being analyzed by staff now. He’ll also look at whether the technology the department currently has is being used to its full capacity.

Rohde will be paid $67,195, the same amount that Maddix is paid.

Brown said the new chief will make the same as Maddix because she feels the position already is underpaid compared to the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s salary of $114,800.

“He will make the maximum, because I’ve maintained since I’ve been in office that the salary range is too low,” she said. “The police chief is actually responsible for a larger operation ... but makes less than 60 percent of the (sheriff’s) pay.”

Brown said the Columbus Police Department annual budget is about $8.5 million and the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office annual budget is about $6 million.

Editor Julie McClure contributed to this story.

Jon Rohde

Age: 35

Residence: Columbus

Originally from: Bremen

Education: Bremen High School, 1997; Indiana University at Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and political science, 2000; and Indiana University School of Law, Indianapolis, 2007; admitted to the bar to practice law in 2008. He earned his law degree while working third shift at the Columbus Police Department.

Professional police work: Rohde joined the Columbus Police Department in 2001. He became a field training officer and in January 2008 was named as a detective in the narcotics division. In November 2008, Rohde was named the sergeant over the narcotics and vice units. In January 2012, he was named department administrative captain, overseeing the detective, narcotics, training and records units.

Promotion: He was named Tuesday as new police chief by Mayor Kristen Brown, effective when Jason Maddix retires May 20.

Chief Jason Maddix

Age: 44

Residence: Columbus

Originally from: Mount Vernon

Education: Mount Vernon High School, 1988; associate of science degree in law enforcement from Vincennes University, 1990; bachelor of arts degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, Bloomington, 1992.

Professional police work: He joined the Columbus Police Department in 1994. He was a Mount Vernon patrolman for two years before joining CPD. He moved into investigations as a detective from 2000 to 2007 and 2009 to 2012 before being appointed police chief by Mayor Kristen Brown on Jan. 1, 2012.

Other experience: From January 2008 to July 2009, Maddix worked for Irwin Union Bank as a fraud department manager.

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