MISHAWAKA — The Mishawaka Police Department should reconsider releasing the reason why a former Mishawaka Assistant Police Chief retired from the department following five months on paid leave, Indiana's public access counselor wrote this week.  

The official opinion from Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt found that Bryan Fox being placed on paid administrative leave in November before his “voluntary retirement” in April could be construed as a final disciplinary action and thus the reason behind it should be disclosed.  

Britt’s ruling comes after The Tribune filed a formal complaint under Indiana’s Access to Public Records Act arguing that a retirement following five months of leave is, in essence, a termination. 

More:Assistant Mishawaka Police Chief placed on administrative leave for 'personnel issues'

Britt acknowledged administrative leave is important as an investigatory option so a department "removes any immediate potential danger to the agency while preserving the due process rights of the employee."

But once an investigation determines wrongdoing and a department moves to remove an employee, the action becomes disciplinary, he reasoned.

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