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Lackawanna police chief named new commissioner of Erie County Central Police Services

Lackawanna Police Chief James L. Michel Jr. will become Erie County’s commissioner of Central Police Services next month, pending confirmation by the county Legislature.

Michel would take over the post July 18 by an appointment announced Thursday by County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s office.

Central Police Services runs the county’s enhanced 911 and police radio communications systems, as well as a forensic laboratory, computer systems and law enforcement training programs.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Chief Michel as commissioner of Central Police Services in Erie County and look forward to his confirmation by the Legislature. Being a member of the local law enforcement community for over 35 years has given him a wide range of experience, perspectives and insights that will be tremendously valuable in the commissioner post,” Poloncarz said in a written statement. “His knowledge of law enforcement and relationships with others across that community are beneficial and essential to success in the position and will help him acclimate to the role more quickly.”

Michel is a member of the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force executive board; serves as the 1st vice president of the Western New York Association of Chiefs of Police; is the New York State Board of Governors representative for Erie, Niagara, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties to the state Association of Chiefs of Police; and is a longtime member of the Erie County Association of Police Captains and Lieutenants, the Erie County Association of Chiefs of Police and the Judges and Police Conference of Erie County.

Michel takes over for John A. Glascott, who retired earlier this year. Michel became Lackawanna chief in 2009.

Recently, some Lackawanna lawmakers have questioned payments the city made to Michel for vacation and sick time while he was police chief.

In January, Michel filed two lawsuits stemming from the city’s inquiry.

In 2013, State Police made an arrest in a 1979 cold case murder, the result of an investigation Michel requested.

“As Commissioner of Central Police Services, I can utilize my knowledge and experience from 36 years of law enforcement to problem solve and help CPS continue to move in the right direction,” Michel said in a written statement. “The Department has many fine hard working employees, many who I have known or worked with during my career in law enforcement. I am excited to be joining the team and I would like to thank County Executive Poloncarz for this opportunity.”

The county post comes with a budgeted salary of $83,462.