Harvey Cedars to Hire Civilian Police Director

Jun 26, 2019

In the wake of a second officer charged with theft of moveable property, Harvey Cedars officials plan to hire a civilian police director early next month. Borough Commissioner Michael Garofalo, who is public safety chairman, said the move was recommended by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. While details are still being finalized, Garofalo said the director would be on the job for at least six months and for no more than a year. Additionally, he said Robert Burnaford would remain as police chief.

Two weeks ago, Detective Christopher Oldham was arrested and charged with theft of movable property, tampering with evidence and filing a false police report in connection with his employment as a detective with the Harvey Cedars Police Department.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said the Professional Standards Unit of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the matter following an audit by the police department. He said the audit revealed a silver necklace, valued in excess of $200, was missing from the evidence room while Oldham was the custodian of evidence. Further investigation revealed that Oldham, who is suspended without pay, indicated the necklace was unclaimed property and had been turned over to the borough to be auctioned. An audit revealed the necklace was never turned over to the borough.

Last Thursday, Billhimer announced former Sgt. Sean Marti was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels to two years of supervised probation. Daniels also executed a forfeiture of public office order. This permanently forfeits Marti’s employment with the Harvey Cedars Police Department and bars him from any future public employment in the state of New Jersey. Marti pleaded guilty to the charge of theft of moveable property.

Billhimer said an investigation by the Professional Standards Unit had revealed that in the summer of 2017, Marti became aware that a resident wanted to donate a Polaris all-terrain vehicle to the Harvey Cedars Police Department or Beach Patrol. Marti accepted the ATV, stored it at his home and continued to use the ATV as his own until December 2018, when it was recovered by the prosecutor’s office. As a condition of his probation, Marti must also make restitution by returning the ATV to its rightful owner.

Additionally, the police department is accepting applications for a seasonal police officer. By losing both Marti and, at least for the time being, Oldham, the number of officers was reduced to six. As a result, the borough hired four seasonal officers last week to at least get the department through the summer fully staffed.

“But one of them declined the position, so we have an opening,” said Garofalo.

Prospective officers may pick up an application at police headquarters in the municipal building or call the department’s non-emergency number, 609-494-6509.

— Eric Englund

ericenglund@thesandpaper.net

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