Manuszak barred from using police database after authorities find he accessed information improperly
The former chief of the Town of Wyoming Police Department issued an apology to residents, council members and his fellow officers following his resignation from the post in the wake of findings that he improperly used a statewide law enforcement computer system.
Charles Manuszak tendered his resignation at an Oct. 11 town council meeting, days after officials with Delaware Criminal Justice Information System, called DelJIS, informed the town that he was permanently barred from accessing the database.
“I want to apologize to everyone involved; the people in the town, the council, my officers, my fellow employees, all the agencies that I worked with,” he said in an interview days after the meeting. “My actions, my judgments have affected so many people in so many negative ways, and that was definitely not my intent to cause all this havoc and drama; to bring all this bad press and shed a bad light on the town.”
Peggy Bell, executive director of DelJIS, said the agency’s board of managers issued its ruling Oct. 7, following its consideration of an appeal filed by Manuszak.
The decision came after the investigation of a complaint against Manuszak filed last month by a member of the public.
When the investigation began, the town council suspended Manuszak with pay.
Bell said she could not elaborate on the specific circumstances of the complaint, but did say her agency’s computers monitor each time a user logs on and what information users access.
Results of DelJIS investigations are turned over to the Department of Justice, though there’s been no word as to any forthcoming criminal charges against Manuszak.
Since DelJIS was created in 1983, Bell said fewer than 10 users have been permanently barred from the database. Currently, there are roughly 9,000 authorized users on the network.
In March, council placed Manuszak on probation following an investigation that concluded he lied about his handling of a complaint against one of his officers and attempted to cover it up.
Had he not resigned, the council could have voted to terminate Manuszak.
Mayor Harold “Butch” Arnold said that’s probably what council would have done, since Manuszak would have been unable to properly fulfill his duties without access to DelJIS.
Arnold would not comment about Manuszak’s job performance or the findings against him.
“You don’t kick anybody when he’s down,” he said. “The chief did save the town a lot of money by resigning, because he forfeited all his perks, his vacation and everything, that was quite a chunk of money.”
Manuszak said he’s ready to put it all behind him, though he would not say what new careers he might be considering.
“Hindsight is 20/20 and I should definitely have handled things a lot differently than I did,” he said. “I hope everybody is able to start healing from this and start moving on, everyone can concentrate on the more important things.”
Cpl. Martin Willey is overseeing the department’s two officers for the time being and council is soliciting applications for a new chief.
Email Doug Denison at firstname.lastname@example.org