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Sheriff’s wife now his chief

Harrison County Sheriff G. Michael Deatrick recently demoted Eric Fischer from the chief’s position and promoted his wife, Joyce, as the second in command.
Deatrick said yesterday afternoon the move was made so Fischer can focus on his campaign for sheriff in 2010. He said Fischer was ‘stipulated on what he can and can’t say,’ and was more scrutinized as chief.
‘There was no problem with it at all,’ Deatrick said.
Fischer, the sheriff’s son-in-law, had been chief since May 2008, when Deatrick had a falling out with then-Chief Gary Gilley, who also has announced his intentions to run for sheriff in next year’s election. Gilley had been chief of the sheriff’s department since Deatrick first took office on Jan. 1, 2003. Deatrick was elected to a second term in 2006.
The sheriff said Fischer now can be paid overtime and receive holiday pay and potentially can make more money than he did as chief.
Fischer, who was reached by telephone yesterday while at the Indiana Law Enforce-ment Academy near Plainfield, said he has not been notified by the sheriff of any changes in his status.
The sheriff also made two other changes in positions. He moved Cindy Avis, who has worked as a secretary at the sheriff’s department, to the jail matron, the position formerly held by his wife, and he hired his son, Darrin, to succeed Avis as a secretary.
The Harrison County Auditor’s office confirmed yesterday afternoon that the sheriff has requested a change in his wife’s pay as well as the pay for Fischer and Avis to reflect their new roles. Those changes will be reflected on the next payroll; the new pay period began Sunday.