The Madison Police Department merit board unanimously accepted Patrolman Josh Abbott's resignation Thursday night.

Abbott was arrested in early February for pointing a firearm at his girlfriend and threatening to hurt her. He was charged with three domestic incidents that occurred over the course of three months.

Abbott, who remains in the Jefferson County Jail, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of intimidation, criminal confinement and domestic battery. His sentencing is scheduled for next Friday.

Murielle Bright, Abbott's attorney, delivered the letter of resignation to the city earlier this week.

In addition to being a felon, part of the domestic battery statute would prohibit Abbott from possessing a firearm, making it impossible for him to continue to be a police officer.

The merit board had two possible choices when faced with Abbott's letter of resignation: They could accept the letter and let him leave the department on his own terms, or reject his resignation and proceed with disciplinary actions, which likely would have been to fire him.

Board member Rick Berry said officers are expected to have exceptional character and dignity on and off duty.

"We do consider being a police office not only a prestigious honor, but a privilege," Berry said.

Board President Danny Strouse commented on the serious nature of the charges Abbott pleaded to, adding, "I don't think this board would tolerate it."

The board also accepted the resignation of Senior Patrolman Joe Baker, which will be effective March 25.

Baker is leaving to take a job as a manager with Anytime Fitness in Scottsburg, Chief Dan Thurston said.

Thurston announced he received 50 applications for the open patrolman position, the most he's gotten for a position at any time since he became chief.

Now the department will be searching for three new employees.

The first position is to fill the vacancy created when Lt. Dan Slygh moved into the schools as a resource officer. The other two officers will fill the vacancies created by Abbott and Baker leaving the department.