MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– It was radio silence this week from the Manlius Police Department after a 20-year-old from Jamesville was arrested for threatening a mass shooting at the Tops Supermarket in Manlius. Three days after it happened Manlius Police sent a press release. As is customary, NewsChannel Nine asked the department for an interview but was told they weren’t allowed.
But Manlius Police Chief Michael Crowell has been willing to talk with NewsChannel Nine multiple times over his tenure. A potential red flag pointing to tension between the Chief and the town board showed up in December 2022 during an interview with Chief Crowell on NewsChannel Nine.
Crowell had revealed his department was one of only two police agencies in the county at the time not signing a mutual aid agreement. In the interview, he said, “When I brought it to the board’s attention they examined it and determined that at this time they’re not interested in signing it so I’d have to defer to the board if you had any more questions on why they wouldn’t sign it.”
Those tensions with the town board seemed to bring new restrictions, ending the Chief’s freedom to talk.
The Village of Manlius Mayor says he found out about the Tops mass shooting threat from the news, not the chief, the way he’d expected and how he was used to.
At the meeting where the Town Board accepted the Chief’s resignation, the members say communication to the public about the Tops threat was handled properly and say the chief doesn’t need permission from the board to speak.
“There’s nothing secret or concerning about this…there’s not an approval process that requires the town board to release the information after the police have given it to us,” Town Councilor Heather Waters said.
The board says it’s time for a new direction for the Manlius Police Department.
NewsChannel Nine has reached out to Police Chief Michael Crowell for comment and has not heard back.