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FREEHOLD – A Brielle police officer was charged Monday with taking more than $700 from the expense account of the local police union, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Michael W. Palmer, Jr., 33, of Wall Township, is charged with one count of third degree Theft by Unlawful Taking. If convicted, he faces up to five years in a New Jersey state prison.

An internal affairs review by the Brielle Police Department and follow-up investigation by this Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit revealed Palmer made several ATM cash withdrawals in Wall Township, Ocean Township and Neptune City from the expense account of the Brielle Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 395, while serving as their treasurer between January and June of this year. These withdrawals were unrelated to PBA business and were made for personal reasons.

“We will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable for their actions. Bad cops will be weeded out as their unlawful or improper actions are discovered. Mr. Palmer betrayed the trust of his fellow officers and the public at-large – this is inexcusable. Mr. Palmer is not a typical example of our law enforcement community. Our law enforcement is made up of genuinely good people whose only interest is serving the community,” said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.

Palmer was employed as a Brielle Borough police officer on Dec. 1, 2018, where he earned $105,383. He is currently suspended without pay pending the adjudication of both the criminal and administrative proceedings.

“This is of a very sad situation, but it is as equally disappointing. When any officer engages in this type of conduct, he/she violates the trust and integrity of the community in which they have sworn to protect and serve, and also violates the trust and integrity of their co-workers. Police Officers are always held to higher standard, and here in the Brielle Police Department, that standard is even higher,” said Brielle Chief of Police Gary J. Olsen.

“It is essential that we, as police officers, always do the right thing in order to maintain public confidence in the police department, and in this case specifically, we must also maintain the rank and file’s confidence in the administration of the department. We owe it to our residents, and I owe it to my officers. We must communicate to them that this type of behavior is unacceptable, and it will never be tolerated,” Chief Olsen added.

The case is being prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Melanie Falco, Director of the Office’s Professional Responsibilities and Bias Crimes Unit.

Palmer is represented by Charles Uliano, Esq., of West Long Branch.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

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