WARSAW — A Kosciusko County Sheriff’s detective was suspended earlier in March for conduct unbecoming to an officer.
On Dec. 19, 2019, a Kosciusko County man filed a protective order against Deputy Thomas Waikel in Kosciusko Superior Court 3 with Judge Joe Sutton. The man filed the order for himself and his wife.
According to court documents, the man listed three separate incidents as cause for filing the protective order. In November 2019, Waikel was allegedly at the couple’s residence when the man entered and told him to leave. Waikel then allegedly started yelling at the man, called him names and tried to begin a physical altercation. A similar incident occurred in December 2019. The man also listed a third incident where Waikel allegedly threatened to shoot the man in the head.
In January 2020, the man’s wife sent Sutton two letters asking to have her name removed from the protective order due to her contact with Waikel being consensual. A hearing was held on Feb. 12 to dismiss the protective order between the man and Waikel. The protective order was dismissed.
On Nov. 22, 2019, Waikel signed a disciplinary action letter that included Waikel being suspended for eight unpaid duty days, with five of the days suspended for conduct unbecoming to an officer, immoral conduct and neglect of duty. He was also removed from the Kosciusko County Detective Division and placed into the patrol division, and taken off the county SWAT team for six months.
In the letter, Chief Deputy Shane Bucher described conduct unbecoming to an officer as follows: “The Warsaw Police Department had to be called in to investigate the domestic altercation involving yourself (and the man and woman involved in this case.) Further, your actions reflected poorly on your professional acumen and put the sheriff’s office in jeopardy at the same time.”
Captain Travis Marsh also assisted Bucher with the investigation and cited an issue that occurred at Meijer at 1:40 a.m. Nov. 12, 2019. According to the report, Warsaw officers were called to Meijer regarding a verbal argument that started as a result of the man, in this case, accusing Waikel of having an affair with his wife. A Meijer employee called the police and Waikel left Meijer before the officers’ arrival.
The man told Marsh that Waikel had worked a case involving one of his children in August 2019. After the case had been worked, Waikel started hanging out with the man and woman socially.
The report also stated that Waikel and the woman involved in this case would talk to each other regularly without the man present.
“The relationship started to be interpreted as an affair by several people, including (the man’s) parents, who live right by (the man and woman’s) residence,” read the report. “It was reported that Tom Waikel was visiting the house in his county-owned vehicle all hours of the day and night.”
According to the report, the man said he confronted Waikel about this and that Waikel allegedly made threats that were directed toward the man’s job.
When Waikel was brought in to discuss the matter with Marsh, Waikel was “upset and knew there was an issue at hand.” Marsh then told Waikel several people needed to be interviewed and that he would be placed on administrative leave until the investigation was concluded.
Warsaw Police Department also made a traffic stop on the woman’s vehicle on Nov. 8, 2019, and when officers arrived, it was discovered that Waikel was on the scene in his county-owned vehicle. Waikel did not interfere with the stop but was present at the location.
For immoral conduct, Bucher cited the following as reason in his report:
“The inappropriate content on your department cellphone is a type of incident as veteran deputy you have seen many times over the years. While we understand that you are not immune from personal issues, you are in a position that requires a de-escalation/disengagement prior to any official police response.”