Sheila McLaughlin reports
Wiping his eyes with a white handkerchief, a former West Chester Township police officer stood before a Butler County judge Thursday and described how his work as an undercover agent sucked him into a seedy lifestyle of drugs and bad choices.
Now, David Busemeyer will spend the next six months in jail for breaking the law.
Busemeyer, 38, of Hamilton Township in Warren County, was accused of tipping off a drug dealer to an undercover investigation and exposing the identity of a confidential informant. Married and now with a second child on the way, Busemeyer was having an affair with the drug dealer’s sister at the time.
He pleaded guilty in January to felony charges of attempted tampering with evidence and obstructing official business. He quit his job the same day. A charge of obstructing justice was dismissed as part of the plea agreement.
“I lost my identity and became someone else,” Busemeyer said Thursday. “This is the fault of nobody but my own. My thought process during that time also became warped and convoluted due to my own drug addiction. I was taking steroids for over four years and the last nine months daily as a police officer. I began to think that illegal drug abuse of any kind was OK.
“At that point I was too bitter, too addicted, too arrogant to think anything I did was wrong. But I was wrong,” he said.
Busemeyer said he contemplated suicide the night before he was to be questioned by members of his own police force about the crimes he had committed.
“It was the darkest moment of my life,” he recalled.
Busemeyer said took the steroids to “look good” and has since began volunteering with the Taylor Hooton Foundation of Frisco, Texas to help educate people about the danger of steroids.
Judge Keith Spaeth said he understood that Busemeyer could make a mistake, but that didn’t excuse his conduct.
“We look at our police officers. We expect perfection. But they are human and we are not always going to get perfection,” Spaeth said.
He also ordered Busemeyer to pay $2,000 in fines, continue drug treatment for steroid use and serve three years on community control when he is released from jail.
“Mr. Busemeyer’s conduct in this regard was reprehensible,” Spaeth said. “Betraying your oath as an officer, your sworn duty as an officer, to jeopardize the safety of a confidential informant, to jeopardize an investigation, to tarnish not only yours but the reputation of your department is indeed despicable.”
Busemeyer faced up to 2½ years in prison, but a state law that took effect in September prohibits a prison term on low level felony convictions if the offender does not have a past felony record.
A Butler County deputy led Busemeyer from court uncuffed as several West Chester police officers, Busemeyer’s pregnant wife and several family members watched from the gallery.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael GMoser said he was satisfied with the sentence but found some fault in Busemeyer’s emotional statement.
“What Mr. Busemeyer left out of his recitation was any mention of the danger that he placed the informant in. This case was really about the danger that was beset on that informant,” he said.