Lowell PD chief to be reinstated after investigation

Lowell Police Chief Steven Bukala. (Aug. 19, 2014)

LOWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Lowell Police Chief Steven Bukala will be reinstated after being put on unpaid leave for months while being part of a criminal investigation.

City Manager Michael Burns said he chose to reinstate Bukala after a Michigan State Police investigation.

“The instances in question involved private family matters and happened several years ago when Steve was not serving as chief of police,” Burns said. “While I do not condone his actions, I do not believe they should cause him to lose his livelihood.”

He was put on unpaid leave for allegedly misusing the Law Enforcement Information Network, leading to five misdemeanor charges from the Barry County prosecutor. The charge is punishable by 93 days in jail and/or fine of $500.

LEIN is a database that lists people’s personal information and includes details about criminal backgrounds, which is only available to law enforcement and strictly regulated. Specific details about Bukala’s alleged misuse of the system were not released.

Burns said Bukala has done an excellent job as police chief and has his full support.

Bukala was named the chief of police in Lowell in 2013. Sgt. Christopher Hurst has been serving as acting chief.

Bukala will return to his position once his court case is settled.