ELKHART — Three Concord Township Fire Department employees suspended for violating department drug-handling policy are back on the job.
At the same time, a related Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department inquiry into the matter has petered out.
“It has gone cold, as far as that goes,” Concord Township Trustee Mark Grabill said Thursday, July 24. “Inactive due to lack of evidence.”
Don Mansell, then the Concord Township deputy fire chief, and firefighters Bill Creedon and Jon Simmons were suspended without pay starting April 20. The suspensions stemmed from violation of department protocol on removal of tags from department narcotics boxes and were to remain in effect pending completion of the sheriff’s department investigation.
With the investigation inactive, the three returned to work July 13, according to Grabill. Mansell has been demoted to firefighter/paramedic, per terms of the disciplinary action he faced. Creedon and Simmons returned to the posts they previously held.
The sheriff’s department investigation stemmed from a Feb. 21 report filed by an IU Health Goshen Hospital employee saying narcotics vials in the care of the Concord Township Fire Department had possibly been tampered with. Grabill said no evidence emerged in the subsequent investigation that drugs had been improperly taken or used.
“We have made no arrests in this case and nothing has been forwarded to the prosecutor's office for review,” Sheriff’s Capt. Jim Bradberry said in an email Thursday.
With Mansell’s demotion, two others — Ron Perry and Kevin Doyle — have been elevated to deputy fire chief.
Mansell initially faced a suspension of at least eight weeks and the other two faced suspensions of at least four weeks. Because of the length of the sheriff’s department inquiry, they ended up lasting 12 weeks.
Drugs carried on fire department ambulances are contained in boxes, each sealed with sticker that may be removed only to access drugs for patient care, for drug restocking or to remove outdated drugs. In the case of Mansell, Creedon and Simmons, a sticker had been removed, but not for any of the three allowable reasons, leading to the disciplinary action.