Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Officer Charlotte Brown - Clayton Township PD

Officer Charlotte Brown, Clayton Township PD: Misuse of LEIN system.

No charge follows police officer's misuse of records database
By Bryn Mickle 
Saturday, March 04, 2006

CLAYTON TWP. - A suspended township police officer will not face criminal charges for misusing a police records database to track down an ex-boyfriend.

Charlotte Brown, 41, was demoted and given a 29-day suspension last month after she admitted using a Swartz Creek police computer to check a name through the Law Enforcement Information Network.

"One of my officers made a mistake," said township police Chief Chuck Melki.

"It was a mistake of the heart."

But because Brown did not share the information with anyone, Genesee County Prosecutor David S. Leyton said he opted against criminal charges.

"She has already received significant punishment," said Leyton.

The episode may still pose some problems with the state for the Clayton Township and Swartz Creek police departments.

The council that oversees the LEIN system will conduct its own investigation and decide if further punishment is needed, said Liz Canfield, an analyst with the Criminal Justice Information System Council in East Lansing.

The state could suspend or revoke LEIN access for either department, but Canfield said such a severe step is rarely taken.

Police departments nationwide depend on LEIN for everything from routine driver's license checks to criminal warrants.

Swartz Creek Police Chief Rick Clolinger said he asked Leyton to issue a criminal warrant after he found out one of his LEIN computers had been misused by a Clayton Township officer.

"I wanted to do the right thing," he said.

The Swartz Creek officer had asked Brown to turn off the loudspeaker in her patrol car and was unaware that Brown had punched a name into the LEIN computer while she was in the car.

Clolinger said there was a breach of trust but added he doesn't believe it has harmed the relationship between the two departments.

Melki said the incident has been an embarrassment for his department but said Brown is a good and hardworking officer.

Her suspension ends Sunday and Melki said she will likely return to patrol sometime next week - but as an officer instead of a corporal.

Clayton Township Police Chief Chuck Melki and attorney Steve Iamarino have not worked since their contracts were extended as at-will employees

Published: Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 10:45 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 16, 2008, 1:36 PM
By Laura Angus
The Flint Journal

CLAYTON TOWNSHIP, Michigan — While Ted Henry, the township's building inspector, was back on the job on Friday, police Chief Chuck Melki and attorney Steve Iamarino's status are still unknown.

Currently, the township's police department is operating under the control of Cpl. Charlotte Brown, the department's third-ranking officer. Sgt. David Hammon is on vacation for the week, said Supervisor Bruce Beatty. Melki did not return to work this week.

"With the officers we've got out on the road, this township is going to be as safe as it ever was," he said.

Beatty said the daily operations of the department won't change in Melki's absence

He will meet with Iamarino on Wednesday.

The Township Board voted Dec. 11 to retain Melki, Henry and Iamarino for another 60 days, making them at-will employees for that time and ending their controversial suspensions.

They were suspended after Kalamazoo attorney John Bauckham evaluated the employees' contracts and wrote that they were void and deprived the new Township Board of the statutory power to select and appoint officers because they extended beyond the term of the board that created them.

Bauckham based his opinion on Michigan law and the 1988 case of City of Hazel Park vs. Potter, which deemed it unlawful for an outgoing board to create contracts that extend beyond its term.

Melki's attorney, Dean Yeotis, said the chief rejected the township's proposal that he come back as an at-will employee for 60 days, and he expects the township to honor Melki's contract.

"It is our position that Chief Melki has a valid contract. Apparently, Clayton Township thinks otherwise," said Yeotis.

Melki's contract is structured to keep politics out of the police department, he said.

"Chief Melki is ready, willing and able to return to work under the terms previously agreed to," he said.

Beatty said the matter will be discussed during the Township Board's meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Township Hall, 2011 Morrish Road.


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