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POLICE REPORT: Mishawaka firefighter was drinking heavily

By Rachel Lake
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:35:07 AM CST
Updated On: Sep 26 2013 09:32:18 AM CDT

WSBT's Rachel Lake has reaction to the arrest of a Mishawaka firefighter.

MISHAWAKA -

The Mishawaka Board of Public Works placed firefighter Eric Hazen on paid leave after he was arrested last weekend. Documents from the prosecutor's office show Hazen was charged with neglect of a dependent, intimidation and resisting law enforcement, two of which are felonies.

On Sept. 21, St. Joseph County Police were called to Hazen's home on the 10600 block of Dunn Road in Osceola. According to the charging documents, Hazen placed his 6-year-old son in a "situation endangering his health."

According to a police report obtained by the South Bend Tribune, officers went to Hazen's house after his ex-wife, Tiffiney M. Hazen, reported he had been drinking heavily and would not let her pick their child from his house.

When police arrived at Hazen's house, he allegedly could barely stand and started swearing at an officer who tried to talk to him, police said. As Hazen's older son removed the 6-year-old from the house, Hazen allegedly lunged at two officers and tried to hit him, the reports said.

Police say an officer then used his Taser on Hazen three times. Hazen's blood-alcohol content was measured at more than .26 percent, according to the report.

Hazen was eventually booked into jail around 2:30 that morning. He bonded out the next day.

WSBT knocked on the door of Hazen's home Wednesday, but no one answered.

A neighbor said Hazen is a good guy and that he's going through a rough time. But another neighbor said this never should have happened.

"Regardless of if someone is a public servant or just a normal citizen of our country, we should be treating each other with respect and honesty," said Rich Svoboda, who lives nearby.

An attorney with the city, Geoff Spiess, would not go on camera, saying it's too early in the investigation. He says they still have to talk with Hazen and the police officers involved. Spiess also says there's a possibility Hazen will be disciplined, which could be anything from suspension without pay to termination. Since Hazen is on paid leave, the attorney says the city doesn't want to drag this out. He says they should know within the next two weeks or so what disciplinary action will be taken, if any.