Foster replaces Shuter as Warsaw traffic commission administrator

With Capt. Kip Shuter’s upcoming retirement  from the Warsaw Police Department and Traffic Safety Commission, the commission underwent some shuffling Wednesday.

Former police chief Steve Foster was appointed the new Traffic Commission administrator by Mayor Joe Thallemer, to replace Shuter, who served in that capacity for almost two decades.

With Foster becoming the administrator, that opened up a vacancy on the commission for the second police appointment.  Police Chief Scott Whitaker announced Sgt. Lewis Fuller will fill that position. Capt. Joel T. Beam is the other police appointment on the board.

Shuter said Fuller will be a good fit to the commission.

Beam was elected to serve as the commission’s secretary since Foster was appointed administrator. Foster had served as the secretary.

Shuter worked for the police department for 31 years. He was on the traffic commission for 22 years, including 19 as administrator.

Shuter’s retirement is effective Saturday. An open house for him is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Warsaw Police Department, 2191 E. Fort Wayne St.

Shuter is returning to his alma mater, Grace College, as the associate director of special events.

Whitaker said, “As far as the police department, I’d like to say we appreciate Kip’s service, obviously to the police department, but to the Traffic Commission specifically. He’s been instrumental in a lot of many ordinances that involve public safety and changes to the public safety of the streets and the city of Warsaw for the past couple of decades. We will miss his input for sure.”

Councilwoman Cindy Dobbins told Shuter she appreciated his expertise and working with him.

After Thallemer echoed everyone else’s sentiments, he announced that he wasn’t making any announcement as to who was taking Shuter’s place on the police force, but that Foster was taking over Shuter’s place as Traffic Commission administrator.

“Steve brings his expertise as a member of this commission and his many, many years of service to WPD. I think he’s got a very good approach to traffic issues. He likes to really look and balance both sides of them and obviously do what’s best for the entire community, not just for maybe a select situation,” Thallemer said.

“I would say thank you, obviously, for giving me the opportunity,” Foster said. “I look forward to it.”

Shuter added that Foster was a mentor to him as Foster was the administrator before he took over. When Shuter was in college at Grace, he said Foster employed him and several others to do traffic counts around the city.

“It was one of the things that helped peak my interest in traffic safety,” Shuter said. “So I’m very grateful to him, and he’s been a tremendous mentor, and to turn around and go back to him is a great honor. He will serve the city well.”

Several months ago, Dirk Felger resigned as director of buildings and grounds from Warsaw Community Schools. As a result, he resigned from the Traffic Commission as the school’s representative.

At Wednesday’s meeting, WCS Chief of Academics David Robertson took the oath of office to replace Felger on the commission.

Thallemer said, “It’s critical that we have representation from the school. I think the Union Street issue is a big item that shows how important that cooperation is, that there is that collaboration between the city and the schools. That’s obviously just one item. Bus safety and traffic safety around all the elementary schools in the area, it’s certainly critical that we have a good representative from the school corporation, and I think Dave will do a great job.”

At the Aug. 7 city council meeting, the council voted 6-1 to approve a plan with the Indiana Department of Transportation to make northbound Union Street at Winona Avenue a right-turn only. The change will be reviewed after a year to see if the number of accidents at the intersection has decreased or if other action is needed.