“Our department has great officers that provide a great service, and we’re becoming stronger each year,” reports Batesville Police Chief Stan Holt.
Recently, personnel have been shifted within the department. “With Jeff (Thielking) retiring, Mike Benjamin is taking over as assistant police chief. Blake Roope has been assigned to the detective position, and Patrolman Ryan Metcalf will be working investigations part time with him. Patrolman Brad Wessel is filling the officer’s position.”
The chief stresses, “When looking to fill the position for assistant chief, what drew me to Mike is I believe we share the same vision for the department and commitment to the community .... I see very strong leadership skills in Mike. He’s very much a team player and will do whatever it’s going to take to get our goals accomplished. He took over investigations when I became chief and has done an excellent job. By bumping him up to assistant chief, we’ll continue to move forward and be a pro-active community police agency. We’ll continue the aggressive stance on drug prevention in our community.”
Benjamin says, “I have always enjoyed interacting with people in the community. With my new role within the police department, I am back in uniform, patrolling and out in the community more, so I am enjoying that aspect of it .... Chief Holt and I have been working closely together to identify areas within our community where we can become even better. For example, we want to implement more community policing programs .... (which) allow the community to interact and become more comfortable with the police and vice versa. It’s my belief that building good relationships with the citizens in our area is key to the success of our police department.
“I am honored and excited that Chief Holt has appointed me as his assistant chief, but it’s really not about me. It’s about what I can do in this position to make our department better for our officers and the people we serve.”
Holt adds, “Blake will do an excellent job taking over investigations. He was part time (in that area) the past couple years. He has very good people skills and is a very bright officer. He has been very successful in solving a lot of crimes in our community.”
Roope reveals, “I’m looking forward to applying the skills and experience I have gained in my law enforcement career to help resolve problems in the community. In many instances, the problems that exist in our community are also similar to those that exist in others around us. This particular challenge will also give me the opportunity to work closely with surrounding police agencies as we are always looking for new ideas from others to help us do our job more effectively.”
The chief announces, “Ryan will be a great addition to our investigative team. He’s good at dealing with people and is detail oriented.”
Metcalf points out, “I am really looking forward to the transition into investigations. I have worked a second and third swing shift for the past five years, and now I will be working investigations and a second shift rotation. It will be a big change for me working primary road duties and switching to investigations. My favorite part ... is that it is a great feeling to be able to take on a case, put the pieces of the puzzle together with the help of all of our guys, develop a suspect and solve crimes that have occurred in our community.”
Of the newest officer, Holt reports, “Brad grew up in Batesville and knows the community. He was working for the Rushville Police Department for three years, so he already attended the police academy. He is a Taser instructor and will be great in developing more training programs. He’s a good, friendly policeman, and he’s going to work out great.”
Wessel notes, “I got into law enforcement in 2010 as an officer with the Rushville Police Department. I remained living in the Oldenburg and Batesville area while working at Rushville. I enjoyed my job there, so I applied for the last hiring process (in Batesville) in hopes of having the opportunity to work in my hometown.”
As chief, “I try to find each individual officer’s strengths and let them work in that area .... Our agency is a very well-rounded department.
“I think a big turning point for Batesville was when we were hit with the drug dilemma. We were seeing drugs we hadn’t seen before. When we had the death of Cierra Adams, that was the point when you really saw what Batesville was made of. People were coming from different sectors and we developed the drug coalition. We continue to meet every month, and it’s well attended. Those who were committed early on are still there, and we’re all striving to do everything we possibly can to tackle drug issues in our community.”
Holt’s goals over the next year include “primarily working closely with the community and schools on different projects. We’re also keeping the mark high on our training and helping officers get the best training to provide the best service to our community.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
Batesville's police force The law enforcement agency is made up of Chief Stan Holt, Maj. Mike Benjamin, Detective Blake Roope, Lt. Doug Wolfer, Sgt. Danny Hamilton, Cpl. Dave Abel and Patrolmen Ryan Metcalf, Chris Smith, Jerry Taul, Jamie Straber, Michael Manus and Brad Wessel.