Waterford chief probe in state hands
A patrol car video purportedly shows an officer questioning Waterford Police Chief Daniel McCaw, in civilian clothes and driving an unmarked vehicle, for what the officer thought was suspicious behavior on July 19.
Waterford Township — An investigation of an Oakland County police chief for suspected political sign theft last July has been completed and turned over to the Michigan attorney general's office to review for possible charges.
The Michigan State Police took over the investigation of Waterford Township Police Chief Daniel McCaw in September after the Oakland County Sheriff's Office recused itself from looking into allegations because of law enforcement associations with McCaw. McCaw has been on paid administrative leave since September.
"We sit on many of the same boards and associations with McCaw," said Paul Walton, Oakland County's chief deputy prosecutor.
Sydney Allen, a state attorney general spokeswoman, said recently the matter had not been assigned to a new prosecutor for review. The attorney general's office routinely handles special requests, according to Allen.
"Conflicts of interest do arise across the state on a regular basis and it is a sign our system of blind justice is functioning well when they are identified and cases are referred to another prosecutor," Allen said in an email to The Detroit News.
Allen said the case load varies since it is dependent on when conflicts arise and some cases are taken up by other county prosecutors.
"Prosecutors take on cases as they are able but all prosecutors are glad to help each other administer justice," she said.
McCaw was stopped and questioned in July when an officer spotted him late at night removing signs from a vacant gas station lot. McCaw, who was in civilian clothes at the time and in an unmarked vehicle, told the officer he had permission to remove the signs asking township voters to vote "no" on new millages. The officer never wrote up the incident and allowed McCaw to drive away.
McCaw has told others he was removing signs that had been placed too close to the roadway. The owner of some of the removed signs, Kyle McGrath, complained to township officials other non-millage signs in the same location were left undisturbed.
A public safety millage renewal on the ballot which would have affected McCaw's force was subsequently passed by voters.
In a letter to township officials, attorney Lawrence B. Shulman insisted McCaw did nothing wrong in removing signs placed in violation of township ordinances.