Special Deputies Accused Of Lying About Training

Former Employee: Men Forged Training Records

The owners of a Carmel-based private security firm have turned in their special deputy badges amid accusations they lied about their qualifications.

The Marion County Sheriff's Department launched an investigation after a former employee of Eagle/Trident Security contacted 6News' Rafael Sanchez.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, claimed that company owners Greg Schmidt, Edward Schmidt and Kenneth Kleinknecht had their names signed in to mandatory training courses that they never attended.

"I'm the one that set up the classes. I'm the one that actually was given a company check to pay the officer to say that they were there during the training," the former employee said.

The Sheriff's Department has an agreement with 41 companies that can apply for special deputy badges for security employees.

The 240 people in Marion County who have the badges must wear their company uniforms while on patrol, only have police powers on the properties they patrol and are not paid by the Sheriff's Department.

To be eligible for a badge, they must have trained at the police academy and take 24 hours of mandatory state training on topics ranging from first aid to dealing with domestic violence situations with firearms.

As long as the courses are taught by certified instructors, the Sheriff's Department depends on each company to honestly report who can patrol with a special deputy's badge.

"We assume that they are providing us with true and accurate documents," said Sheriff's Department Chief Gary Tingle.

He said the department opened an internal investigation into the matter.

"The public can be rest assured that we are looking into it and that we will take appropriate action if it is determined that there's been any violation," Tingle said.

Greg Schmidt, Edward Schmidt and Kleinknecht voluntarily resigned as special deputies.

The former Eagle/Trident Security employee said he hopes police take appropriate action.

"I believe the company should be stripped of all special deputy powers because it's a huge liability to the general public," he said.

A company representative said in an e-mail that it could not comment because of pending litigation.