Looking back, the major says he did “everything” between graduating from Batesville High School and starting his BPD career. He started working at the former Lindemann Co. at 16, then moved to a Batesville Casket Co. plant and tended bar at Hillcrest Country Club. What he learned: “I didn’t want to work in the factories and I didn’t want to be in a mundane occupation … where you’re bored to death.”
The son of Carl (a part-time police officer in 1960s and 1970s) and Alice Thielking “was just kind of drawn” to police work. He was a Lake Santee security officer, then the late Ripley County Sheriff Kenny Lovins hired the young man as a dispatcher and jailer, when the Versailles jail “only held 14 prisoners and everything was still written out by hand.” After serving as Versailles town marshal for almost four years, he arrived at BPD and underwent Indiana Law Enforcement Academy training.
Working under Chief Dennis Wallpe and now Holt, he watched the department grow from eight to 12 officers. What makes him most proud is “that the department’s independent these days.” In earlier times, due to lack of resources, Batesville police relied on Indiana State Police and sheriff’s offices to help investigate. “We didn’t have a crime scene investigator (now BPD has two), we didn’t have full-time detectives… the officers weren’t trained back in those days to handle major crimes.”
The assistant chief says proudly, “There’s no doubt that today when there’s a crime, … BPD is probably trained just as much or more than any other agency in the state.”
He observes, “I’ve worked every conceivable shift. I thought the late night shift was the best” because he likes to be busy. Activity peaks between 2 p.m.-4 a.m., Thielking maintains.