The Wyoming Town Council has unanimously voted to suspend the town police chief following accusations he misused a state police information system.
Meeting in emergency session Sept. 27, the Wyoming Town Council unanimously voted to suspend Chief of Police Charles Manuszak following accusations he misused a state police information system.
The database, formally known as the Delaware Criminal Justice Information System, only is to be used for official inquiries.
Manuszak has been “suspended with pay until the outcome of the investigation conducted by DelJIS,” said Acting Mayor Harold “Butch” Arnold.
The vote to suspend Manuszak was unanimous, Arnold said. Other council members include William Spruill, Georgeann Wagner, Georgette Williams and Terry Witt.
How the action may affect Manuszak's status on the force is not known. The chief is on probation after being disciplined by council in March for allegedly lying about how he had handled a citizen complaint.
“We felt we had to act” after DelJIS officials informed council they were conducting an investigation into Manuszak’s actions, Arnold said.
Wyoming has four paid police officers including the now suspended chief.
Arnold referred queries about the basis for the investigation to Peggy Bell, executive director of DelJIS.
Bell confirmed an investigation has begun, but because the issue is a personnel matter, said she could not discuss the accusations or how DelJIS authorities were notified.
DelJIS is a central, computerized database of all criminal information from all law enforcement agencies, and is regularly accessed by police departments, the courts and correction officials. When someone is accused of misusing the system, there is an internal investigation.
The investigation includes tracing down every time the system was used by an individual, she said.
DelJIS authorities work with the State Bureau of Investigation, then turn over any findings to the state Department of Justice. Decisions about whether to prosecute or drop the case are made at the office of the attorney general.
Bell said such investigations have been known to take up to three months, but that this case has been given priority.
“What we try to do I get the investigation through as quickly as possible for various reasons,” she said. “In this case, we have a police officer who’s being paid and not doing the job. We try to move them through as expeditiously as possible.”
Bell estimated the internal probe could be completed by the end of October.
As of press time, attempts to contact Manuzsak through the Wyoming Police Department proved unsuccessful.
Email Jeff Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.