Former police chief gets suspended sentence

Former Aurora police chief Bryan Fields pleaded guilty to one count of domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, through a plea agreement in Dearborn Superior Court I, Friday, Aug. 8.

Originally charges with three Class A misdemeanor counts, Fields pleaded guilty to battery against his stepson Darren Cochran, according to the joint motion in tender of conditional negotiated plea agreement signed by himself, his attorney Bob Ewbank, special prosecutor Ric Hertel, Ripley County prosecutor, and Dearborn Superior Court I Judge Jonathan N. Cleary.

Fields was sentenced to 365 days incarceration with 361 days suspended and credit given for two days time served as well as good time credit, a total of four days.

As part of the agreement, the “state shall not oppose a petition for expungement after one year probation and six months,” said the plea agreement.

Fields was required to pay $168 court costs, $50 each probation user's fee and administrative fee, and $20 monthly probation fee.
The charges stemmed from a domestic disturbance at 407 Harrison Ave., to which state and county police responded early Sunday morning, Dec. 15. An investigation revealed Fields and his wife, Holly Fields, had a physical confrontation resulting in her hospitalization and his arrest, Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze, public information officer, said at the time.

In addition to allegedly punching his wife in the ribs with his fists, Fields head-butted his stepson Derrec Fields and punched Cochran in the head, according to the probable cause affidavit filed by ISP Trooper Brian Earls, investigating officer.

Bryan Fields was hired by the City of Aurora as a police officer Jan. 1, 1998, according to APD records. At some point he was assigned to the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit, and in 2008 Fields said he had been a police officer for nearly 14 years. Holly Fields, who was hired as an APD dispatcher in 1999, began work as a dispatcher at the Dearborn Communications Center in 2008.

Bryan Fields resigned from APD effective Jan. 10, 2014. Aurora Mayor Donnie Hastings appointed then-APD Sgt. Joshua Daugherty, who had been serving as acting chief, to the chief's position.

Fields had been appointed acting police chief Tuesday, July 28, 2009, by Hastings after former police chief Dana Cotton resigned that month. Hastings officially appointed Fields police chief Monday, Aug. 17, 2009.

Cotton pleaded guilty later that year to a Class D Felony charge of conflict of interest.

Over the years, APD has had several officers resign after they were charged with crimes. Most prominent while Fields was chief was the resignation of former Aurora assistant police chief Dennis Lewis, who pleaded guilty in July 2010 to one count of child solicitation, a Class C felony.

But at least two former officers resigned after they were charged with battery. Former officer Jared W. Dausch was charged with a felony and two misdemeanors stemming from an alleged domestic battery May 25, 2008, and former officer Brett “Mooch” Hamilton resigned in October 2009, six months after he was charged with battery.