Lowell police chief accepts plea deal for misusing police database

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Lowell Police Chief Steve Bukala

HASTINGS, Mich. — The Lowell Police Chief took a plea deal to willfully neglecting his duty as a public officer.

Chief Steven Bukala pleaded to the misdemeanor crime. In exchange, the remaining four misdemeanors he was charged with will be dropped.

The Barry County Prosecutor’s Office says Bukala used the police database LEIN inappropriately. LEIN is “restricted to criminal justice agencies or those agencies statutorily granted authorization.”

Bukala was placed on leave from the department in April. He turned himself into authorities in June.

On Wednesday, Bukala was sentenced to pay $1,425 in fees. He must also complete a LEIN re-training within 90 days.

Barry County Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor-Pratt was appointed as special prosecutor in the case because the Kent County Prosecutor recused himself due to a conflict of interest.

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