Indianapolis—Public Safety Director Frank Straub told reporters after a speech to the Rotary Club in downtown Indianapolis he was appreciative of the role Fox59 News played in releasing a 25-minute long audio tape of his address behind closed doors to officers at the IMPD Training Academy last Friday.
"I don't regret any of the comments and I want to thank Fox 59 for getting the bulk of what Ile said out on the airwaves."
Straub's comments were aggressive and, as the director described his own style, "in people's faces," but also controversial in that he revealed that a metro police officer would be arrested for the strong arm robbery of a stripper by that night.
"Before the end of the day we are going to arrest another member of the department…that thinks its appropriate to do strong arm robberies," Straub told the officers.
Sgt. Bill Ownesby of the Fraternal Order of Police said the release of such confidential information to the suspect officer's peer group may have been a violation of IMPD General Orders and could have compromised the investigation.
"Having said it at all is problematic for any detective. I liken it to a violation of Detective 101: you don't release information, especially prematurely, on any suspect or any arrest information because it provides time for a number of things…destruction of evidence, fight-or-flight possibilities, and its very problematic," said Sgt. Owensby.
Owensby said Straub similar bad judgement in August when he announced on WIBC Radio that the arrest of a suspect in the Birthday Barbeque shooting on the west side was imminent. Sources tell Fox59 News that that preliminary announcement likely drove the suspect underground for another two weeks and may have led to the disappearance of the weapon that killed two people.
Straub denied that he interfered with the investigation into the stripper robbery.
"I'm not going to say anything about an open investigation," he said. "I had a conversation with police officers about a police matter that should have never been repeated in public."
While Straub said he was appreciative of Fox59's decision to release the entire contents of his police academy address on its website (which resulted in two to three times the amount of normal web traffic), he refused to absolve the leaker when asked if an internal investigation was underway to identify Fox59's source.
"I think there needs to be a more coherent policy that defines what is information that is accessible to share with the public and what is information that needs to be kept confidential."
Wednesday morning Straub, Mayor Greg Ballard and Police Chief Paul Ciesielski are scheduled to meet with a multi-denominational group of ministers to talk about police-community relations.