TERRE HAUTE -- The felony charges against a formal Brazil City Police Chief were formally filed in Vigo Superior Court Division 6 Thursday.
Terry Harrison, 46, Brazil, appeared without an attorney before Special Judge Michael J. Lewis and Special Prosecutor Timothy Bookwalter shortly after 2 p.m., Thursday.
Charged with class B felony Failure To Deposit Public Funds and class D felony Official Misconduct, Harrison is currently out on a $10,000 cash bond (with 10 percent allowed).
If convicted of a class B felony, the highest charge filed against Harrison at this time, the sentence issued by the state for a guilty conviction/plea agreement ranges from 6-20 years in prison and potential fines up to $10,000. A conviction for the class D felony is punishable with up to six months-3 years in prison and potential fines up to $10,000.
After reading the specifics of the charges filed by the state, Lewis asked Harrison if he was going to hire private counsel or need the services of a public defender.
Harrison, who admitted he is currently working part time at a local temp agency, informed the court he was unable to afford hiring private counsel at this time.
Lewis assigned Geoffrey Creason to the case as public defender. However, Lewis informed Harrison that at anytime during the upcoming legal proceedings the court could determine he is financially capable of hiring his own defense attorney or would need to reimburse the public defender fees.
After entering a preliminary not guilty plea on Harrison's behalf, Lewis scheduled another court date for Jan. 27.
The misconduct allegations surfaced during Harrison's tenure as BCPD Police Chief.
In July 2008, Harrison allegedly received and cashed a $2,000 grant check for funds intended to purchase car safety seats for children from the Indiana University Automotive Safety Program and never deposited them into the official government accounts for the City of Brazil. Officials confirmed the grant money has been recovered.
After being demoted from police chief to captain Sept. 23, 2008, then again down to sergeant Jan. 30, 2009, Harrison was terminated from the Brazil City Police Department June 5, 2009, by the Brazil Board of Public Works and Safety. At that time, the board cited allegations of neglect of duty, violation of rules and conduct unbecoming an officer with regard to funds received from the Indiana University School of Medicine (for the purchase of car seats), neglect of duty regarding $380 of drug buy money and neglect of duty regarding the grant check as its reasons for the termination.
Due to a potential conflict of interest, Clay County Prosecutor's Office officials confirmed to The Brazil Times the local prosecutor's office and both of the local courts, Superior and Circuit, could not participate in the prosecution of the Harrison case due to his being a previous member of law enforcement and the potential for his being subpoenaed to testify in ongoing criminal cases as an investigative officer.
Around 4 p.m., Tuesday, Harrison was taken into custody without incident at his mother's home and booked into the Clay County Justice Center by ISP detectives from the Putnamville Post.