Wyoming police commissioner suspended on heels of felony charges

By Michael Reich - [email protected]
Wyoming Borough Police Commissioner Michael J. Flanagan walks out of the state police barracks in Wyoming on Thursday. Flanagan was suspended from his borough job Friday, the mayor has confirmed. He is facing two felonies, including a theft count, for equipment allegedly taken from the former Laflin police force. - Sean McKeag | Times Leader

WYOMING — Borough Mayor Joe Dominick confirmed Friday he has suspended Police Commissioner Michael J. Flanagan without pay and appointed an officer-in-charge in his place.

Flanagan was hit Thursday with felony counts of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property, plus a misdemeanor charge of tampering with evidence.

The longtime lawman allegedly took a Dell laptop computer, a Taser and a portable radio from Laflin around the time that borough’s force was disbanded in late 2014.

Flanagan, 52, of Harding, worked as a policeman in Laflin for about 20 years in all, court records show.

The value of the items in question total $2,178, according to authorities.

The complaint filed against Flanagan indicates two Wyoming officers told a trooper in January 2017 that a laptop and Taser at the Wyoming department were taken from the Laflin force. At the time, the laptop was in a Wyoming police vehicle, records state.

That information from Wyoming officers launched the investigation into the equipment that led to Flanagan’s arrest some 19 months later.

Dominick said he made the move to suspend Flanagan because he thought it was in the best interests of the borough and its citizens considering the charges he’s facing.

“Per borough code, I have the authority to suspend the police commissioner until the next council meeting,” said Dominick.

Council next meets Aug. 13. At that time, the mayor said council could continue the suspension, alter it, or vote to lift the suspension.

Dominick announced the move in an email to council members Friday morning. He said he called the members of council who do not have email. He also consulted the borough’s solicitor and labor attorney.

The mayor also contacted Flanagan personally.

“He was understanding,” Dominick said of Flanagan’s reaction to the suspension.

At least two members of council seem to be on board with what he’s decided, the mayor said, but he has not yet talked to everyone.

Full-time Officer Macson McGuirk has been named officer-in-charge in place of Flanagan, according to Dominick.

Restitution sought

The tampering charge that Flanagan is facing involves the removal of a Wyoming property number from the Taser that rightfully belonged to Laflin in “an attempt to conceal” theft, court papers say.

They also noted that Laflin is seeking restitution for the equipment.

While leaving the state police barracks in Wyoming on Thursday, Flanagan told reporters: “Everything will come out eventually. I’ve had better days, but I’ll get through it.”

He remains free on $10,000 unsecured bail. A preliminary hearing is set for Aug. 7 before District Judge Joseph D. Spagnuolo Jr. in Plains Township.

Wyoming Borough Police Commissioner Michael J. Flanagan walks out of the state police barracks in Wyoming on Thursday. Flanagan was suspended from his borough job Friday, the mayor has confirmed. He is facing two felonies, including a theft count, for equipment allegedly taken from the former Laflin police force.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/web1_Flanagan.cmyk-1-1-1.jpgWyoming Borough Police Commissioner Michael J. Flanagan walks out of the state police barracks in Wyoming on Thursday. Flanagan was suspended from his borough job Friday, the mayor has confirmed. He is facing two felonies, including a theft count, for equipment allegedly taken from the former Laflin police force. Sean McKeag | Times Leader
Mayor: Flanagan ‘understanding’ about decision

By Michael Reich

[email protected]