Waikel
Waikel
A Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office detective was recently suspended and removed from the detective division and the SWAT team.

On Dec. 20, a Kosciusko County man filed and was granted a protective order against Deputy Tom Waikel by Kosciusko Superior Court III Judge Joe Sutton. The protective order was for the man and his wife.

According to court public records, the man alleged that in November 2019, Waikel was present at the couple’s home and when the man arrived, he told Waikel to leave. The man alleges Waikel backed the man into a corner and tried to get the man to fight him. The man alleges a similar incident occurred in December, including a third event in December where Waikel allegedly threatened to shoot the man in the head.

The protective order was to last through Dec. 20, 2021. However, the woman in the case wrote a letter to Sutton, petitioning that she be dropped from the protective order, citing contact between her and Waikel was always consensual. Court records indicate all parties involved appeared for a hearing in Superior Court III and the protective order was agreed upon to be dismissed.

When asked by the Times-Union on March 5 about the current status of Waikel, Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes said he was suspended without pay for eight days and was returning from that suspension on March 9. Dukes also said it had “nothing to do with the protective order.”

According to information obtained Monday by the Times-Union through the Access to Public Records Act, on Nov. 22, Waikel signed a disciplinary action form and Dukes suspended Waikel for eight unpaid duty days, with five days suspended for conduct unbecoming to an officer, immoral conduct and neglect of duty. Other action taken against Waikel included he be removed from the Kosciusko County Detective Division and placed into the patrol division, removed from the Kosciusko County SWAT team for six months and have his department cellphone privileges taken for one month.

A request for an explanation of why Waikel signed a disciplinary action report on Nov. 22 but was “returning March 9 from his eight-day suspension” went unanswered by Dukes, the attorney for KCSO and Waikel himself.

An investigation by Chief Deputy Shane Bucher and Captain Travis Marsh reports that Waikel was in violation of conduct becoming to an officer because “the Warsaw Police Department had to be called in to investigate into the domestic altercation involving yourself, (the woman) and (the man). Further, your actions reflected poorly on your professional acumen and put the Sheriff’s Office in jeopardy at the same time.”

Marsh wrote that he was contacted in reference to an issue involving Waikel at Meijer at 1:40 a.m. Nov. 12. A Meijer employee called the police over a verbal argument at the store “which started as a result of (the man) accusing Tom Waikel of having an affair with his wife.” According to the report, Waikel left the store before Warsaw police arrived.

When Marsh spoke to the man involved as part of his investigation, the man told Marsh that he wanted Waikel to stop seeing his wife and that Waikel had worked a detective case involving one of the man and woman’s children back in August. The man also told Marsh that after the case was worked, Waikel began hanging out with the man and woman socially. As time went on, the man told Marsh, Waikel and the woman would talk to and see each other regularly without the man around, and that “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. It was reported that Tom Waikel was visiting the house in his county-owned vehicle all hours of the day and night.”

The man alleges that when he confronted Waikel about the alleged affair, Waikel verbally threatened the man, specifically targeting the man’s job.

“When Tom Waikel was brought in to discuss this matter, he was upset and knew that there was an issue at hand,” Marsh wrote in his investigation. Marsh then advised Waikel that he would be placed on administrative leave until the investigation was completed.

Marsh then spoke to the woman’s mother, who told Marsh, according to police records, that Waikel told her that he was in love with (the woman), and that she did not approve because both (the woman) and Waikel are married.

Through the investigation, Marsh also learned that WPD had made a traffic stop at 3 a.m. Nov. 8 involving the woman and that Waikel was on scene with lights activated in his county-owned vehicle. While Waikel was on scene, he did not interfere with the city police traffic stop, Marsh reported.

Bucher wrote in his investigation that the immoral conduct violation is “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.”

The neglect of duty violation, Bucher wrote, is “The inappropriate use of department time when you were spending time at the residence of (the couple) while on duty.”

When asked for a comment for this story, Waikel said, “In response to the recent inquiry of my personnel record, I am a merit deputy with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office in good standing. I am currently fulfilling my duties through a special assignment. I have been assigned to the Prosecutor’s Office as a prosecutor investigator. I have been dedicated to serving the citizens of Kosciusko County honorably for the past 17 years and will continue to do so in my new role.”