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Wilkinsburg cop may be placed on paid leave

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Monday, June 14, 2004

A Wilkinsburg police officer accused of pulling a gun on a man and threatening to kill him most likely will be placed on paid leave, the borough solicitor said Sunday.

"When there are criminal charges, you don't want to expose the police officer to some danger in the community," Solicitor Patricia McGrail said yesterday.

Michael Adams, 41, a full-time Wilkinsburg police officer who lives in New Kensington, and another man are accused of forcing their way into a house in the 400 block of Charles Avenue, New Kensington, on Friday night, looking for a man they claimed had damaged Adams' car.

Adams was off-duty but identified himself as a police officer, pulled out his handcuffs and police badge and hit the home's four occupants in the face with the badge, said New Kensington police Chief Chuck Korman.

Police said Adams pulled out a revolver, grabbed the shirt of the man he had accused of damaging his car, and shoved the gun into the victim's mouth.

"I should blow your (expletive) head off right now," Adams said to the victim, according to Korman.

Adams is charged with official oppression, four counts each of simple assault and reckless endangerment, and one count of terroristic threats, burglary, criminal mischief and criminal conspiracy. Brian Keener, 47, of Verona, is charged with burglar, conspiracy to commit simple assault and terroristic threats. Both men posted bond Saturday night.

The officer has taught Drug Abuse Resistance Education in Wilkinsburg schools, McGrail said.

McGrail and Wilkinsburg Mayor Wilbert Young said they plan to speak with Acting Chief Michele Krempasky about Adams' status with the department today.

Neither Adams nor Krempasky could be reached for comment yesterday.

McGrail said another officer, Thomas Proctor, was recently placed on paid administrative leave after he was charged with molesting an 18-year-old woman at her Wilkinsburg home.

Charged with indecent assault, harassment and official oppression, Proctor is scheduled to appear July 19 before McKeesport District Justice Thomas Brletic for a preliminary hearing. Proctor is married to Krempasky.

McGrail said in most cases if the officers are held for trial, the leave becomes unpaid.

"We'll have to wait and see what shakes out," McGrail said.

Young said the recent cases involving officers worry him.

"I am concerned with anything that happens that affects the department and the community," Young said. "I want to talk with the officer and talk with the solicitor and the chief."

Young and McGrail said they were not aware of any prior disciplinary action against Adams.

Young also said he is concerned about the department's staffing. The bureau has 24 working officers, including Adams but not Proctor, for the community of 19,196.

"I want to have more people," Young said. "The people we have are doing a good job continuing to cover and provide a safe community for the people."

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