Patrick Bratton Steps Into Role as Fortville Police Chief

Photographer / Belinda Russell

Patrick Bratton, Fortville’s new police chief, is well prepared for the job. He has two decades of law enforcement experience, including 15 years with the Fortville Police Department. His enthusiasm for the job is bolstered by his knowledge of the community and his dedication to service.

“I grew up in a little Indiana town, Fountain City, which is north of Richmond,” he says. “I was in the Boy Scouts and went to a high school that included grades 7 through 12. It was a community like Fortville.”

As a young adult, Bratton left his hometown and experienced different localities and cultures. Five years after graduating from high school, Bratton joined the Army. Overseas travel during military service broadened his view of the world. Upon leaving the Army, he settled in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he worked as a counselor in a boys youth-group home.

Police“When I moved back home after living in Chattanooga, I had the opportunity to get into law enforcement,” Bratton says. “My sister’s mother-in-law was on one of the Indianapolis mayor’s boards and she told me about the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Police Department.”

Bratton spent five years with the IPS Police Department. Initially, he was assigned to work within a school, and later was promoted to detective.

“I got to know Indianapolis really well,” he says. “The department handled situations that ranged from bus fights to stabbings and shootings outside of school hours. As a detective, I investigated thefts and child sex crimes. Being in an inner-city environment was a good enlightenment. I enjoyed helping the youth, school staff and citizens.”

In 2006 he left the IPS Police Department and was hired by the Fortville Police Department, working the night shift from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. In 2012 he began working during the day. One year later he was promoted to lieutenant, and in 2016 he became major and assistant chief in charge of operations.

“I am so thankful for my wife April,” Bratton says. “She has had to rearrange family celebrations when work conflicted. She has always known me as a police officer and been supportive of my career.”

In 2017 he was selected to attend the FBI National Academy, a professional leadership course for select leaders in law enforcement. Attendees go through an extreme vetting process, and represent every state and 26 countries. It is held each year in Quantico, Virginia, and participants take courses in contemporary issues facing police such as officer wellness, both physical and mental.

“When Chief Bill Knauer announced his retirement, he told me I was ready to step up to the chief position,” Bratton says. “After being approved by the Town Council this January, I was shocked by the supportive texts, phone calls and Facebook messages I received. I don’t plan to make a whole lot of administrative changes but we are looking into installing a license plate reader. It’s a pole-mounted device that reads license plates, not people. Officers get notified if the plate is identified as belonging to a registered sex offender.”

Bratton wants residents to know they can reach out to him at any time.

“If people don’t get their voices heard, that’s where problems start,” he says. “I want everyone to feel safe and welcome in Fortville’s restaurants and shops, and for the department to support the growth of the town and its citizens.”

The Fortville Police Department is located at 714 East Broadway Street, and can be reached at 317-485-4044.

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