ROGERS CITY - A former Rogers City police officer will spend up to six months in jail for interfering with an investigation of an acquaintance and suspected arsonist, among other charges.
Daniel John Kulik was sentenced Monday in 53rd Circuit Court, nearly two months after pleading guilty to a count of interfering with a crime report, a count of willful neglect of duty by a public officer and a high-court misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in his vehicle. The 40-year-old Rogers City man previously told Judge Scott Pavlich he had moved a homemade bomb he found on an acquaintance's property in 2010, and used the Law Enforcement Information Network without authorization one year prior to check if the acquaintance was being investigated.
The third charge stems from an unrelated incident when Kulik drove to his deer blind with a loaded rifle in his truck, Kulik's attorney Dan White said.
As a result of what Pavlich called a "serious breach of trust," Kulik will serve six months in jail, two years' probation and pay $1,764 in fines and costs. He can participate in community corrections after three months of his jail time.
Kulik originally was charged with three felonies, including possession of a controlled substance, according to a release from Cheboygan County Prosecutor Daryl Vizina. In exchange for his guilty plea, the charges were dropped to three misdemeanors, White said.
When Kulik moved the bomb he found on hunting property co-owned by William Douglas Ferris, he knew that Ferris was under investigation for arson, Kulik said during his arraignment in November. He and another acquaintance found it in Ferris's deer blind after police had searched the property. Kulik moved it and told the property's co-owner without notifying police.
Ferris was convicted of arson in two separate courts in 2010 and 2011, according to an affidavit filed for Kulik's case.
Before Pavlich handed down his sentence, Kulik told the court he was "very sorry" for what he did, and took responsibility for his actions. Prior to resigning as a result of the investigation, he had worked for the Rogers City Police Department for two decades.
"I had a very good career, and I threw it all away," he said.
Pavlich denied Kulik and White's request for swapping jail time with six months' house arrest. Kulik said he would lose the job he's found since his resignation if he went to jail, and would no longer be able to support his daughter.
"I've had so many people stand up here and say, 'I can't go to jail, because it'll affect my family negatively,'" Pavlich said. "It does, it does. But the time to think about that is before committing an offense."
Vizina said he believed the sentence was fair, and said police officers and others in the criminal justice system have a higher responsibility to follow the law than ordinary citizens.
"Any time we have a judge, a prosecutor or a police officer who violates the law, I think it's more serious than when an ordinary citizen does," he said. "It's very serious when a police officer is on duty, and I think that's what's happened here."
Prior to the sentencing, White said he wanted to clear up a misconception about Kulik's financial relationship with Ferris. During the investigation, several witnesses testified they saw Ferris give Kulik cash on multiple occasions. They also testified that Ferris had several law enforcers "on the payroll," and was paying them to avoid prosecution. While Kulik did take money from Ferris, White said it was strictly in exchange for working on the hunting property.
Kulik "engaged with a shameful association with a known criminal, but at no time was he a dirty cop," White said.
Jordan Travis can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.