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YOUNGSTOWN Area man agrees he's not a constable



Published: Thu, August 22, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Kwasnik is cq

Trials will take place in October for three who consider themselves constables.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Michael C. Kwasnik of Boardman now understands that "by no stretch of the imagination" is he a constable, an assistant city prosecutor told a judge.

"Oh, yes," Kwasnik said as he stood in municipal court Wednesday afternoon.

Constables were once appointed by county judges and had limited powers within the judge's jurisdiction, such as Austintown.

So-called constables working in the city have been charged with impersonating police officers.

Judge Elizabeth A. Kobly accepted a plea agreement worked out between the prosecutor, Michael J. Krause, and Kwasnik's defense attorney, Matt DeVicchio.

The judge dismissed a charge of impersonating a police officer and reduced a charge of performing security services without a license to disorderly conduct. She fined Kwasnik $100 and gave him until Halloween to pay.

Krause said in court that Kwasnik, 49, of South Avenue, quit his job at Ohio State Police Constable Service in Youngstown and is now employed with a business licensed to perform security services.

Kwasnik, the prosecutor said, worked only one day for the constable company, the day city police confronted him.

What happened

Detectives working a Weed & amp; Seed detail on the South Side May 24 spotted Kwasnik and Carole J. Dubose outside the Classique Lounge dressed in constable uniforms and carrying guns. Their credentials identified them as employees of Ohio State Police Constable Service, reports show.

The detectives confiscated the guns and ID cards and advised Kwasnik and Dubose, 60, of Youngstown, that they had illegal commissions and had no jurisdiction in the city.

The charges were filed May 30; Dubose was charged again on July 13 when seen by police at Patsy's Bar on South Avenue dressed as a constable.

Kwasnik, whose two warrants and clerk of court files show a Hubbard address, wasn't arrested until June 25, at the police station.

"All I wanted them to do is seek lawful employment, and Kwasnik understood that," Krause said after court Wednesday of the problem of so-called constables' performing security. "They have to realize that what they're doing now is not permissible."

Legal matters

La-Roi Dock, operator of Ohio State Police Constable Service at 1355 Logan Ave., contends that his incorporation with the state gives his employees police powers. The ID cards carried by Dubose and Kwasnik were signed by Dock.

Incorporating with the state as a private constable business doesn't mean anything, Police Chief Robert E. Bush Jr. has said. The chief said he could incorporate a bank or a hospital but that's not enough to operate as a bank or a hospital.

Also in court Wednesday were Dubose, Ethel Smith, 51, of Youngstown and Anthony P. Taylor, 42, of Youngstown, other employees of Ohio State Constables charged with impersonating police officers. The cases were reset to Oct. 15.

Yet another employee of the so-called constable company, Curtis M. Bryant Jr., 58, of Youngstown was to be in municipal court this afternoon. He is charged with impersonating a police officer.

In September 2001, Bryant was convicted in municipal court of performing security service without a license and placed on one year's probation. The case is under appeal, records show.

Last September, Dock was convicted of performing security service without a license and placed on one year's probation. He has appealed the decision.

meade@vindy.com




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