Lackawanna police chief named new Commissioner ? NOT SO FAST !
Lackawanna Police Chief James L. Michel Jr. will become Erie County’s commissioner of Central Police Services next month, pending confirmation by the county Legislature.
NOT SO FAST.
It would appear by good fortune some secret hidden documents appeared showing Chief James “Greasy” Michel was involved in some sort of sexual harassment against a female officer some time ago. It seems his shady past has made him ineligible for the commissioner of Erie County Central Police Services position. His past actions could cause him to be a danger or threat to female officers.
More on this story as it develops.
Michel would take over the post July 18 by an appointment announced Thursday by County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s office.
Central Police Services runs the county’s enhanced 911 and police radio communications systems, as well as a forensic laboratory, computer systems and law enforcement training programs.
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chief Michel as commissioner of Central Police Services in Erie County and look forward to his confirmation by the Legislature. Being a member of the local law enforcement community for over 35 years has given him a wide range of experience, perspectives and insights that will be tremendously valuable in the commissioner post,” Poloncarz said in a written statement. “His knowledge of law enforcement and relationships with others across that community are beneficial and essential to success in the position and will help him acclimate to the role more quickly.”
Michel is a member of the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force executive board; serves as the 1st vice president of the Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police; is the New York State Board of Governors representative for Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties to the state Association of Chiefs of Police; and is a longtime member of the Erie County Association of Police Captains and Lieutenants, the Erie County Association of Chiefs of Police and the Judges and Police Conference of Erie County.
Michel takes over for John A. Glascott, who retired earlier this year. Michel became Lackawanna chief in 2009.
Recently, some Lackawanna lawmakers have questioned payments the city made to Michel for vacation and sick time while he was police chief.
In January, Michel filed two lawsuits stemming from the city’s inquiry.
In 2013, State Police made an arrest in a 1979 cold case murder, the result of an investigation Michel requested.
“As Commissioner of Central Police Services, I can utilize my knowledge and experience from 36 years of law enforcement to problem solve and help CPS continue to move in the right direction,” Michel said in a written statement. “The Department has many fine hard working employees, many who I have known or worked with during my career in law enforcement. I am excited to be joining the team and I would like to thank County Executive Poloncarz for this opportunity.”
The county post comes with a budgeted salary of $83,462.
More on this story as it develops.
NOT SO FAST
Chief James “Greasy” Michel got shot down for Commissioner position due to shady past.
Michel Pursues Legal Action Over Personnel File Leak
Buffalo, NY (WBEN) A day after Lackawanna Police Chief James Michel’s name was withdrawn from consideration to become Erie County Central Police Services Commissioner, he is pursuing legal action against whoever leaked information from his personnel file with the city of Lackawanna.
Attorney Howard Cohen, who represents James Michel, says the investigation should begin with Erie County legislator Joseph Lorigo. “He must tell us who gave him the internal memo.” says Cohen. He’s not insinuating wrongdoing by the legislator., Cohen says he just wants to find the source of stolen documents.
Michel says “No one requested them. No one even filed a FOIA.” At issue was a 1999 incident where Michel was the focus of an investigation over using derogatory language around a female employee while he was a lieutenant. That was in the hands of County Executive Mark Poloncarz Thursday just hours before a vote to confirm Michel, leading to Poloncarz’s decision to withdraw his name from consideration. “I’m insisting on a full investigation into this matter because my rights were violated and now my life has been turned upside down,” adds Michel.
Michel says the 1999 incident was not major. He and employee have continued to have a professional relationship at the police department for the last 17 years. He emphasized many at the precinct used foul language, but he did apologize to the employee at the time.
Cohen says the motivation for releasing stolen personnel files is “totally political.” He is seeking a state attorney general investigation.