SLIPPERY ROCK – A former Slippery Rock University campus police chief accused of stealing more than $20,000 from the school waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Michael Simmons, 48, of Jackson Center, is charged with theft, theft by deception, access device fraud and receiving stolen property. State police said he stole $23,477 budgeted to Slippery Rock University’s police department.

Simmons was the university’s police chief from January 2011 until he was placed on administrative leave Feb. 13. He was terminated Feb. 26 after the school confirmed irregularities in the police department’s accounts.

University officials asked investigators from the state police barracks in Butler to investigate after an internal review uncovered discrepancies in the police department’s finances, which led to the charges.

After SRU fired Simmons, the university named Lt. Kevin Sharkey acting police chief. Sharkey audited the police department’s budget and discovered funds were missing, according to court documents.

Simmons told state police Feb. 25 that an account labeled “PayPal POLICESTUFF” was “all made up.”

He said he took the money because he was going through a divorce and having financial problems.

According to Slippery Rock University, Simmons was the director of safety and security at the Community College of Allegheny County prior to joining SRU. He also had previously been the chief of the Titusville Police Department and a detective with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Internal Affairs Department.

Simmons’ case moves to Butler County Common Pleas Court for an arraignment. No date has been scheduled.

Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter and Facebook @HeraldKlaric, email: mklaric@sharonherald.com