Vigo sheriff fires another correctional officer

TERRE HAUTE Because of recent situations at the Vigo County Jail, Sheriff Jon Marvel said Saturday the public should know his department will proactively enforce regulations on both sides of the bars.

“I’m sure there are people out there wondering what’s going on, but this shows that we are on top of things and won’t tolerate them when they happen,” Marvel said Saturday of his decision to terminate corrections officer Ken Salizar on Friday afternoon.

Salizar’s cause for termination was “refusing a direct order,” Marvel said, stating that as a condition of employment, his employees are required to submit to polygraph testing if so directed.

Marvel said Salizar was being questioned about some things and agreed Thursday to submit to a polygraph test, but was a “no show” at test time. Failure to take the test constitutes “refusal of a direct order,” he said.

However, “this will probably not be turned over to the prosecutor,” Marvel said, noting that the inmates involved claim nothing happened.

Salizar was unable to be reached for comment. A listing for Salizar was could not be found in the telephone directory.

On Oct. 17, former corrections officer Christopher Bose appeared in Vigo County Superior Court Division 3 on allegations of official misconduct and trafficking with an inmate.

Marvel said the two incidents appear to be unrelated, but immediately after Bose’s termination he addressed the facility’s staff at a meeting and told them such behavior would not be tolerated, and offered anyone involved to submit their resignation immediately.

No resignations were submitted, Marvel said, and his detectives went about their investigation of internal complaints.

Salizar was going on six months of employment with Vigo County, and Marvel said “he had a lot of experience,” noting previous work as a Vermillion County deputy and officer in both male and female Indiana Department of Corrections facilities.

But the inmates and environment at DOC facilities and county jails are completely different, Marvel said, noting that temptation can be much greater in the smaller setting where inmates are still presumed innocent and have regular visits from friends and family who live just down the block.

Bose is accused of accepting money and cigarettes from the home of an inmate’s girlfriend with intent to deliver inside the facility, a problem Marvel said isn’t the same at prisons.

“The two inmates are completely different,” he said, adding “I have this talk with everyone that I hire and tell them about the temptations that will be offered … and I tell them that once you do break a jail regulation then they’ve got you. Then the blackmail starts.”

Marvel refused to blame the issue on pay and salary.

“No excuse for it,” he said, noting that many people in the community work jobs considered low-paying, some have no jobs, and yet they don’t break the law.

Entry-level corrections officers at the jail make $25,000 a year salary, with comp time offered in lieu of over-time, he said.

“The majority of people who come to work here move on to better-paying jobs,” he said, explaining that with a year’s service at the jail many apply for jobs in the penitentiary system where they can make much more.

In the meantime, Marvel said complaints involving inmates and officers alike will continue to be investigated and acted upon.


One Response

  1. In a nation wherein “In GOD We Trust” has become a mere creed on the money upon which it is printed, corruption and wickedness exist on both sides of the badge and the bars. Yet, are they bad men just because they made some bad choices? Do not all of us have A’s and F’s on our moral report cards? As I so stated on my blog, we can’t fix it IF we can’t face it. I dare anyone who wants to fix their F’s to read that textbook in sex education and then to trust in GOD…and that’s my final answer!

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