SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH/CNN) - An Indiana police officer faces felony charges for allegedly handcuffing and jailing his 15-year-old son in an apparent attempt to scare him straight.
Timothy Hayes Jr., 37, was arrested Tuesday after turning himself in on charges of neglect and confinement. He has been a member of the Southport Police Department in Indiana since January 2019.
The SOPD were notified in January that the state police had launched an investigation into Hayes after a staff member at Franklin High School made a report with Child Protective Services regarding Hayes’ 15-year-old son.
“His son’s been doing some things that concern him, and he was trying to show him what happens when you go down that path,” said Southport Police Chief Tom Vaughn.
Investigators say Hayes handcuffed the teenager and left him unattended in a jail intake facility.
“He drove him to the police station and used the facility as a ‘scare tactic’ is his statement. So, he had taken him in there to show this is where bad guys go when they do the things that he was doing,” Vaughn said.
Investigators say Hayes then drove his son, still in handcuffs, to the adult processing center for the Marion County Jail. He parked in an area designated for police vehicles. Neither Hayes nor his son got out of the car.
“Do I think the officer intentionally meant to hurt his kid at all? No, I do not. I know what he was trying to accomplish,” Vaughn said.
Hundreds of Facebook comments overwhelmingly showed support for Hayes’ actions, with some commending him for trying to get his son on the right path before something worse happens. However, others disagreed, calling the officer’s actions an “abuse of privilege.”
“There is standard operating procedures that he has violated, and we will address that,” Vaughn said. “As a parent, I get it. As the police chief, we have some violations that we need to address.”
Hayes has been on administrative leave since January when state police notified the SOPD of the investigation. He had no previous disciplinary issues. The SOPD is also investigating the matter internally.
Hayes’ next court hearing is scheduled for March 24.