Village of Kenmore Police Chief Peter Breitnauer was arrested by FBI agents at Kenmore Police Headquarters, the U.S. Attorney’s Office confirmed to News 4 last Friday.
Breitnauer is charged with criminal possession of Hydrocodone. According to the government, he took pills from the medication drop box located at the police station.
News 4 has since learned Breitnauer was released on his own recognizance.
According to court documents he must abide by several rules, including not drinking excessively, and providing DNA samples if requested.
Court documents show Breitnauer must surrender his passport, which is a common practice when a defendant is released on their own recognizance. However, the police chief was allowed to go on a pre-planned trip to Germany prior to turning his passport in.
Once he returns from Europe, he will need to surrender his passport.
“Breitnauer admitted that he is addicted to Hydrocodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and had been taking Hydrocodones from the box for his personal use,” a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. “The defendant guided agents to a closet in his office, where he had stashed more than 100 Hydrocodone pills that he had diverted from the drop box.”
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. said Friday that there is “absolutely no evidence” that Breitnauer distributed any of the drugs he’s alleged to have diverted.
“Today’s events certainly do not erase all the good that the Chief has done during his tenure,” Kennedy said in a statement. “Rather, they highlight the devastating and destructive power of opioids and underscore the fact that anyone can become ensnared in their allure.”
Breitnauer made an initial appearance in federal court on Friday and was released on conditions.
If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Breitnauer has been in the Kenmore Police Department for more than 30 years. According to friends in law enforcement across Erie County, he was supportive of drug rehab programs.
While this case is investigated, Capt. Thomas Phillips will act as Kenmore’s Interim Police Chief.
He told News 4 the department is “looking forward to putting this behind them.”
A written new policy on the handling of the medication drop box will go out internally, Phillips told News 4.