BURTON, Mich. — A former police sergeant in eastern Michigan has admitted to abusing prescription drugs he collected from several area police agencies through pill take-back programs.

Michigan State Police reports obtained by the Flint Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request alleged that former Burton officer Shawn Duncanson approached multiple police agencies and offered to dispose of prescription drugs turned into their departments. Burton Police launched an internal investigation in January, and State Police began a criminal investigation soon after.

The State Police reports say that Duncanson initially told Burton Police that he collected the drugs because he intended to start a business. Duncanson later told investigators he took pills collected from the departments and the Burton Senior Center as well as a prescription opiate from evidence for his own personal use.

The reports say he also was able to obtain heroin, crack cocaine, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana from at least one of the police agencies.

Duncanson said he sold or gave away any of the drugs.

He was suspended without pay in March amid the investigation and resigned in June days before a discipline hearing in front of Burton Police Chief Tom Osterholzer. He hasn’t been charged.

“He (Duncanson) risked his life serving his community. He considered it an honor to protect and serve as a police officer,” said Frank Manley, Duncanson’s attorney. “But we are all human. Tragedy can strike us all and nobody is immune from mistakes.”

The office of Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the issue remains under review.


Information from: The Flint Journal, http://www.mlive.com/flint