MICHIGAN CITY — A total of 10 Michigan City Police officers were honored with promotions on Wednesday during a special ceremony at City Hall.

The Michigan City Police Commission promoted the officers within the rank and file of the Michigan City Police Department.

Chief of Police Dion Campbell said after the ceremony, “I wanted to sincerely congratulate all of these invaluable supervisors. From the new supervisors getting ready to jump into supervision for the first time, to the veteran supervisors, we need all of them now more than ever to help instruct, lead and guide the new officers of the Michigan City Police Department into the future.

“I have no doubts that all of our supervision staff are ready to take on the challenge of making the Michigan City Police Department the premiere law enforcement agency in Northwest Indiana.”

Openings became available with the recent retirements of Capt. Steve Jesse, Capt. Mark Harris and Sgt. Chris Yagelski.

The Police Commission filled the openings based upon a promotional testing process that began in November 2018. This process to promote an officer within the department is organized and governed by the commission.

The promotional process scores each officer on four promotional testing categories: written exam, oral interview, performance evaluations and longevity.

The officer with the highest score per available rank is then awarded the promotion.

Promoted from lieutenant to captain were Mark Swistek and Greg Jesse; from sergeant to lieutenant, Ken Drake and Kevin Urbanczyk; from corporal to sergeant, Jillian Ashley, Cisco Rodriguez and Anna Painter; and from patrolman to corporal, Marty Corley, Dave Cooney and Mike King.

Swistek is a 28-year veteran of the MCPD and former Chief of Police. He is currently assigned as Commander of the Patrol Shift 1. Swistek has held many positions within the department, including Chief of Operations, Commander of the Drug Task Force, DEA Task Force Officer with the DEA Merrillville Office, Supervisor within the Investigative Division, K9 Officer and SWAT team member. He has been married for 25 years to his wife, Rhonda, an MCPD Records Division Administrator.

Jesse began his law enforcement career with the Indiana University Bloomington Police as a Cadet and Part-Time Officer while a student. In 2004, he joined the MCPD and has served as School Resource Officer, Detective in the Investigative Division, SCUBA Team Member, Drug Recognition Expert, and Bicycle Patrol Coordinator. He is a lifelong resident of the Michigan City area. His wife, Shauna, is a Sergeant with the Gary Police Department. He is accepting the rank previously held by his father, retired Capt. Steve Jesse.

Drake is a 21-year veteran of the MiCPD, currently assigned as Commander of Patrol Shift 3 and Field Training Program Coordinator. Drake has held many positions within the department, including Detective, Drug Task Force Supervisor/Commander, Fugitive Apprehension Street Team Supervisor/Commander and SWAT team member. Lt. Drake comes from a long family history of police officers, including his father, retired Capt. Ken Drake. Lt. Drake’s likes to cite Robert H. Schuller: “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

Urbanczyk is a 15-year veteran of the MCPD currently assigned as Investigative Division Co-Commander. During his career, he has served as Traffic Officer, Detective, Chief of Operations, Advanced Vehicle Crash Investigations/Reconstruction, Crime Scene Investigator and Evidence Technician.

Ashley was born in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Michigan City as a teenager. She is a 12-year veteran of the MCPD, currently assigned as Chief of Services, overseeing the plain clothes divisions. She spent most of her career as a Detective, primarily investigating crimes against children and sexual assault crimes. She was also Field Training Officer for the Investigative Division and is one of the department’s Hostage Negotiators. A graduate of the Leadership La Porte County program, Ashley is a veteran, having served eight years with the Indiana Army National Guard. Her husband of 20 years is Pastor David Ashley Sr.

Rodriguez is a 14-year veteran of the MCPD currently assigned as the Commander of the Division of Professional Standards. He has also served as Patrol Field Training Officer, Drug Unit Detective/Supervisor, Fugitive Apprehension Street Team Detective/Supervisor, U.S. Marshal Service Task Force Officer with the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force and Training Coordinator. He is one of the department’s certified training instructors, who often quotes Richard Branson: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.” Rodriguez and his wife, Cheri, have two daughters.

Painter is a 14-year MCPD veteran currently assigned as a Detective. She also served as Investigative Supervisor, Patrol Supervisor, Field Training Program Supervisor, and Taser Instructor. She is a certified training instructor, and when not working, is a die-hard Kansas City Chiefs fan having been born in Kansas City, Missouri, and relocating to Michigan City when she was 10.

Corley is a 19-year veteran of the MCPD currently assigned as a Patrolman on Patrol Shift 1, but with this promotion will be transferred to Patrol Shift 3 supervisor. He previously served as Detective, SWAT team member, and Director of the Youth Leadership Academy. Corley is a lifelong resident of Michigan City and has served on several boards and commissions, including Stepping Stone Shelter, Commission on the Social Status of African American Males, Human Rights Commission, Salvation Army, YMCA and Boys and Girls Club.

Cooney is a 13-year veteran of the MCPD currently assigned as the Chief of Operations, overseeing the uniformed divisions. Born and raised in Michigan City, Cooney has held many positions within the department, including Detective, Burglary Task Force member, Crime Scene Investigator, Evidence Technician, IDACS Coordinator, RMS Manager and SWAT team member/team leader where he participated in more than 65 high-risk search/arrest warrants over the course of seven years. He has been married to his wife, Rayshelle, for nearly 15 years and they have two children. “I’ve learned through the years that it’s not where you live, it’s the people who surround you that make you feel at home,” he said.

King is a 10-year MCPD veteran currently assigned as a Patrolman on Patrol Shift 3, but with this promotion will be transferred to the Division of Professional Standards as Training Coordinator for the department. During his tenure, King has spent a majority of his time on Patrol Shift 3, but was previously assigned to the Special Operations Group and has been an active SWAT team member for eight years. He is a certified training instructor and holds certifications in Defensive Tactics, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Active Shooter and Less Lethal Use of Force Methods. He and his wife have two daughters.

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