Warsaw Police Chief apologizes following investigation into January incident

Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker is responding publicly for the first time since an anonymous allegation against him was investigated.

On January 25 Whitaker was off-duty when he followed who he believed to be an impaired driver to their residence.

An anonymous allegation was received by the City of Warsaw on February 7, leading to a brief Indiana State Police investigation. It was determined that no criminal incident occurred.

At a press conference on Friday, Whitaker said he did not want to engage with the driver while he was off-duty. He had called Central Dispatch in order to get an on-duty officer to respond.

Still, when he saw a man attempt to get in the vehicle, he applied pressure to his shoulders, causing the man’s knees to buckle.

“I could not allow who I believed at that time to be impaired to get back in the running vehicle,” he explained.

The man was later determined to not be impaired.

Despite saying he would not change his actions, he did issue an apology to those it affected directly.

“I’d like to make a public apology to the gentleman I detained that evening,” he said. “The gentleman had not been driving the vehicle and he was not impaired. I apologized that night to both he and his wife.”

Whitaker said he believed the matter was concluded when he shook the hand of the man’s wife, who was the one actually behind the wheel when Whitaker observed erratic driving.

“I’d like to apologize again to the gentleman and his wife that they have to continue to have to deal with the additional attention regarding this incident that’s been brought to their door. And again, they have not, they did not file a complaint, they have not made a complaint. These allegations do not stem from these individuals,” Whitaker said.

Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer said he was thankful for Whitaker’s actions.

“I can’t imagine the discussion we’d be having right now if that individual caused a wreck involving the Chief or any other driver that night, caused injury or potentially a fatality. With him off-duty it wasn’t something he was looking for,” said Thallemer.

The Mayor told Whitaker he supported his decisions.

“I think you did the right thing and I support what you did. And again, I’m thankful that we’re not up here talking about something a whole lot worse in regards to someone getting hurt.”

Police Chief Whitaker, Mayor Thallemer, and City Attorney Scott Royce took questions from the media at the conclusion of their statements.

Audio of Whitaker’s call into Central Dispatch on January 25 was also aired in its entirety.

Watch the press conference here and the Body Cam footage here.