Franklin Police Chief to make another attempt to have officer fired

Bryan Burton

Bryan Burton

FRANKLIN, Ind – The Franklin Police Chief will make another attempt to have an officer fired after arguing for the same thing more than five years ago.

Chief Timothy O’Sullivan planned to file internal disciplinary charges against Officer Bryan Burton.  Burton and his wife Jordan Burton were both arrested for domestic battery over the weekend following a domestic disturbance.

O’Sullivan plans to file charges of Conduct Injurious to the Public Peace or Welfare, and Conduct Unbecoming an Officer with the Franklin Police Merit Commission.  O’Sullivan will recommend the Merit Commission terminate Burton’s employement with the Franklin Police Department.

O’Sullivan also argued for Burton’s firing in 2011, but the Merit Commission voted against his recommendations.  Burton had been suspended in 2010 after an internal investigation found he had violated several department policies.  They violations included drinking on the job, leaving a surveillance post to go to a liquor store, and supplying alcohol to minors.  He was also accused of equipping a female informant with a recording device without a female officer present, and taking part in inappropriate sexual conversations with informants.

Burton, who was a narcotics detective at the time, argued that his undercover work often put him in shady situations and he maintained he did nothing wrong.

Burton was also charged with battery and official misconduct after a police informant accused him of touching her genital piercing while equipping her with a recording device for a drug buy.  Those criminal charges were later dropped after the alleged victim decided she did not want to take part in the case against Burton.

The Merit Commission suspended Burton without pay for 45 days and demoted him from detective to patrolman.

The disciplinary charges against Burton were submitted to the Merit Commission by O’Sullivan’s predecessor, former Chief Stan Lynn.  Shortly after O’Sullivan became Chief, he argued for Burton’s termination.

“I felt that his actions, some of which were criminal in nature, some of which were not morally correct, brought discredit upon the police department and fellow officers as a whole,” O’Sullivan testified in February, 2011.

In the Merit Commission’s findings in March, 2011, Commission President James Denk wrote that the newly appointed Chief O’Sullivan didn’t have the authority to add to the accusations originally brought by former Chief Lynn:

“Former Chief Lynn had the sole and absolute authority to decide what charges to present to the commission.  Regardless of any outside forces influencing his decision, be they the Department, the Mayor, the press or the public, Chief Lynn made his decision.”

Former Chief Stan Lynn is still an active member of the Franklin Police Department.  A request for comment was sent to Lynn through his police supervisor.  He declined to comment.

Efforts to reach James Denk were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Bryan Burton is currently suspended without pay.  Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper has requested a special prosecutor in the criminal case against Burton.  Cooper says the reason for a special prosecutor is because the construction company Burton owns has recently been doing repair work at Cooper’s home following a lighting strike.

The Merit Commission typically meets on the first Tuesday of each month, but it is not known when this matter will be addressed.

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