PRINCETON — Brandt George, the Princeton Police officer on unpaid suspension following a felony charge brought against him by the Indiana State Police, was cleared for reinstatement by the Princeton Police Merit Board.
George was charged with a level 6 felony count of official misconduct on March 22, 2019, in connection to an incident Feb. 6, 2019, when he was working as a part of DEA investigation into illegal drug trafficking between Evansville and Chicago.
In February 2019, George was placed on administrative leave with pay. Once the felony charge was filed, he was suspended without pay until the case was finalized.
This February, George was sentenced to one year in the Gibson County Jail, suspended to probation, following a plea agreement. The level 6 felony was also entered as a lesser included class A misdemeanor as a part of the plea agreement.
Princeton Police Chief Derek McGraw said everything goes through the department’s merit board, which acts as judge and jury.
He recommended a hearing to be set, which he said George requested. McGraw represented the City of Princeton, along with attorney Keith Vonderahe, and the defense was George and attorney Dan Moon.
McGraw said the merit board heard argument in regard to alleged violations of policy and procedure, which did include the conviction of a crime as document by the Vanderburgh County Court system.
Following that portion of the hearing, McGraw gave his recommendation as to discipline in connection to violating department policy and procedure.
“My recommendation for the discipline was termination,” McGraw said.
The board also a received a letter from Gibson County Prosecutor Mike Cochren, who said it will be difficult to accept charges from an officer who was convicted of a crime of this nature.
McGraw said after the recommendation the board voted to allow George to be reinstated on the department.
“Basically they gave him what I would consider time served,” he said. “They upheld the two-year suspension, so no back pay or anything, but allowed for reinstatement as soon as he clears probation.”
McGraw said there are still a lot of questions to answer, and George will have to re-certified and have his training brought back up to speed.
“As soon as he gets done with his probation period he will be re-instated as far as our payroll,” he said, “and then we gotta go through arrest powers and all that stuff.”
McGraw said he does not have the date of when that probation period will end.
“For whatever reason, this is where we are. That’s why we have due process. You win some, you lose some, you go on,” McGraw said. “At the end of the day we’ve still got a city to protect and a police department to run and we’re going to do it to the best of our ability.”