LOCKPORT – A recently retired city police captain is now facing a felony charge of eavesdropping.
Brian Wentland, a former training captain who left the Lockport Police Department in February, was charged Friday, according to Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek.
The charges relate to a May 6, 2013 phone call involving his ex-wife and another person.
“We received a referral about a concern over eavesdropping from Lockport Police Chief Michael Niethe,” Wojtaszek said Sunday.
Rather than ask an outside agency to investigate the matter, the district attorney said she used an investigator from her office to look into the matter.
“We had newly discovered evidence. It involved a recording of a conversation he was not a party to,” Wojtaszek said.
The timing of the charges was critical in the case.
Wentland’s arrest was just two days before the five-year statute of limitations expired on the charge. He was arraigned Friday and released on his own recognizance. He’s due back in court on Thursday.
Wentland retired from the police force on Feb. 22, just after completing 20 years with the department. He had been placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 22 amid the dispute with the city over $275 of overtime pay — time that Wentland claimed while supervising detectives from his home this past October.
Wentland, who had been viewed as a possible successor to former chief Larry Eggert in 2015, was also suspended for eight days in November over complaints that he had interviewed an applicant for a patrol officer’s position. Wentland was transferred out of the detective bureau and became training captain.
Source: Niagara Gazette