Second officer suspended, demoted for involvement in gaining asset control of city resident

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(Photo supplied/Elkhart Truth)

A second police officer has been suspended as a result of his involvement in allegedly gaining financial control of the assets of an Elkhart resident whom the officer’s wife first met through official police duty.

Nathan Lanzen has also been demoted from sergeant to corporal.

The Elkhart Truth reports Police Chief Kris Seymore had asked the Police Merit Commission to fire Lanzen, as well as his wife, Cpl. Taryn Lanzen, who was more involved in the relationship with the city resident. But the commission found that Seymore’s proposed punishment was too harsh.

Taryn Lanzen will get a 60-day suspension without pay, and will spend another six months on probation for developing the inappropriate personal relationship with a man after answering a call at his house in June of 2020.

Lanzen appeared before the Police Merit Commission, last week.

The commission found that Lanzen answered a call at the man’s home after he complained that an officer had driven in his yard. She was that officer.

The South Bend Tribune reported that Lanzen developed a personal and business relationship with the man, with him signing over power of attorney, and giving Lanzen control of his personal finances, retirement money and 401K, which the man says she used to buy a car.

The man, 58, is suing her for the $38,000 Lanzen used to buy a Shelby Cobra replica. He did not testify.

The relationship was also personal. The commission heard that the man groped and forcibly kissed Lanzen, but that Lanzen continued the relationship. She said that the man was like a father to her and she didn’t want him to feel abandoned. Lanzen is married to Sgt. Nathan Lanzen, also an officer with the Elkhart Police Department.

Lanzen’s attorney said the officer was helping the man and does not believe she violated department policy.

The chief believes otherwise, which is why he asked for her to be fired. Seymore said Lanzen violated community trust by becoming entangled with the man.

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