Weekly Feature

2018-10-10 / Front Page

Kenmore police chief arrested on federal drug charge

Breitnauer Breitnauer Kenmore Police Chief Peter Breitnauer has been arrested on a federal drug charge for possession of hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday.

According to information released by the office, Breitnauer was arrested by FBI agents at the department’s headquarters and charged by criminal complaint with possession of hydrocodone.

The criminal complaint was the result of an FBI investigation, and indicated that agents asked Breitnauer on Friday about allegations that he had been diverting prescription pills from a state medication drop box at the Kenmore Police Department’s headquarters.

Breitnauer admitted that he had been taking hydrocodone from the box for his personal use, also confessing that he is addicted to the drug. He directed agents to a closet in his office, where he had stashed more than 100 hydrocodone pills taken from the drop box.

Breitnauer made an initial appearance Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, and was released on conditions. If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison and a fine of $100,000.

Village officials said Tuesday morning that Breitnauer was placed on administrative leave Friday, and that the municipality is conducting a full investigation into the matter.

In the meantime, Capt. Thomas Phillips has been placed in charge of the Kenmore Police Department.

Village officials declined to comment further on the charge against Breitnauer because the incident involves an ongoing personnel issue.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy Jr. indicated in a statement Friday that there is no evidence that Breitnauer distributed any of the pills, and his alleged actions do not erase the good he has done during his tenure.

“It’s a sad day,” Kennedy said. “Chief Breitnauer has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a respected member of Western New York’s law enforcement community. Today’s events certainly do not erase all the good that the chief has done during his tenure. Rather, they highlight the devastating and destructive power of opioids, and underscore the fact that anyone can become ensnared in their allure.”

Breitnauer started with the Village as a police officer in 1984, was promoted to assistant chief in 2006, and was chosen to serve as chief in 2012.

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