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UPDATE: Indiana State Police investigating former Clark County sheriff

A portrait of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel in his uniform, which includes a brown shirt and brown brimmed hat.
Clark County Sheriff's Office
Indiana State Police are investigating allegations of public corruption against former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel, who held the office from 2015 to 2022.

Indiana State Police executed search warrants at the home and business of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel Wednesday, as part of an investigation into allegations of public corruption.

ISP Chief Public Information Officer Capt. Ron Galaviz confirmed the warrants are part of an investigation into a public figure in Clark County that includes allegations of fraud, tax evasion, official misconduct and ghost employment.

The investigation has so far included a search of Noel’s Jeffersonville home. Police also served search warrants at three Jeffersonville and New Albany locations of New Chapel EMS, of which Noel is chief and CEO.

Noel served two terms as sheriff from 2015 to 2022. He is also the Republican Party chair for Clark County and Indiana’s 9th Congressional District.

New sheriff’s review finds ‘potential criminal activity’ involving Noel

Current Clark County Sheriff Scottie Maples, a Republican who was elected in November and took office at the start of the year, said the search came after he started looking into operations of the previous administration.

“When the people of this county elected me Sheriff, I ordered a thorough review of the office, its budget, and much more,” he said in a statement sent to LPM News Wednesday. “During that review, we uncovered evidence of troubling and potentially criminal behavior. Because no one is above the law, I referred the evidence we uncovered to the Indiana State Police to ensure an impartial and independent investigation.”

In a statement sent Thursday afternoon, Maples provided more detail.

“Several months ago, a review by my office uncovered troubling evidence of potential criminal activity including financial and payroll irregularities involving former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel,” Maples said. “We sent that evidence to the Indiana State Police for an independent investigation and provided all the assistance we could.”

Maples said in the statement that Noel was also not entitled to paid personal time off he received after his resignation, and that the office “will not pay him any additional leave and will work with the state to claw back any funds that were improperly paid.”

Noel stayed on with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office for several months after his tenure leading the department. He announced in April he had retired.

A message left for the Indiana Republican Party to determine whether Noel is still the district chair in light of the investigation was not returned by Thursday afternoon.

Southern Indiana attorney Larry Wilder confirmed he is representing Noel in the case, along with local attorney Zach Stewart and Indianapolis-based attorney Jim Voyles. Wilder declined to comment on the investigation.

ISP spokesperson Galaviz said the investigation is being handled by state police out of Indianapolis. Once they’re finished, investigators will turn over the information to Ripley County Prosecutor Richard Hertel, who’s been named as a special prosecutor in the case, for review.

As of Thursday afternoon, no arrests had been made in the case, and Galaviz said only one person is being investigated. He said the next update will likely come after the information is turned over to the special prosecutor.

“This is still a very dynamic investigation,” he said.

New Chapel EMS operations ongoing amid investigation

News of the investigation has some officials wondering whether it might affect New Chapel, which serves portions of Clark and Floyd counties.

The Floyd County Commissioners held a special meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss contingency plans in case service is impacted. The county has contracts with New Chapel for EMS and fire protection.

Commissioners President Al Knable said before the meeting he’s talked with multiple people at New Chapel about operations and has “been assured that they are up, they are running, they are stable, and that's the way it's going to be for the foreseeable future.”

“We have some contingency plans in case that falters,” he added.

Matt Owen, assistant chief at New Chapel, confirmed that warrants were served at three sites — the maintenance shop at Utica Pike in Jeffersonville, Station 2 at Utica Sellersburg Road in Jeffersonville, and Station 1 on Charlestown Road in New Albany.

He said New Chapel has been in contact with public safety partners in Clark and Floyd counties and that operations are normal and expected to continue.

Clark County Commissioner Jack Coffman declined to comment on the investigation, saying he learned about it Wednesday when the news broke.

Settlement negotiations ongoing in Clark County jail cases

This week’s searches come as settlement negotiations continue in three federal civil actions against members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

The first of the civil rights cases was filed last June, on behalf of women who said they were assaulted and threatened by men housed at the jail during a security breach in late 2021.

The parties met for a settlement conference Tuesday, but online court records show no resolution was reached that day. The court gave them until Aug. 23 to provide a joint status report on ongoing settlement negotiations.

This story has been updated.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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