What to Know
- Five New Jersey police officers have been charged with official misconduct and theft, prosecutors announced Friday.
- An investigation revealed that the police officers were allegedly being paid for extra-duty jobs they weren't present for
- The officers are scheduled to appear in court June 21
Five New Jersey police officers have been charged with official misconduct and theft, prosecutors announced Friday.
An investigation revealed that between Nov. 14, 2016 and May 1, 2018 the police officers of the Edison Police Department allegedly were being paid for extra-duty jobs, which they were not present for. The extra-duty, or "side jobs," are in addition to the regular hours that a member of the police department is assigned to work.
Sergeant Ioannis Mpletsakis, 38, Patrolman Paul Pappas, 43, Patrolman James Panagoulakos, 32, all of Edison Township, Patrolman Gregory Makras, 33, of Cranford, and Sergeant Brian Rossmeyer, 41, of Bedminister were each charged with two counts of official misconduct in the second degree and one count of theft by unlawful taking in the third degree, according to Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey.
Mpletsakis has been a member of the Edison Police Department for 16 years, Pappas for 14 years, Panagoulakos for 4 years, Makras for 7 years, and Rossmeyer has been with the department for 11 years.
The officers who volunteer to take these extra assignments have full police responsibilities while on the extra-duty assignments, prosecutors say, adding that these assignments include directing traffic for utility companies as well as providing security services for local businesses and residential communities.
Prosecutors say that there is no centralized system of assignment for these extra-duty jobs in Edison, but instead, several different individuals within the department have wide discretion as to who gets the assignments.
These extra-duty jobs can exceed $100,000 in a single year for an officer, officials say, which is is in addition to the officer's regular base pay and overtime.
Payment for these side jobs is billed through Edison Township payroll for police services.
"Any police officer who knowingly got paid for an off duty-job they did not do, is guilty of malfeasance. Edison township officials, however, are responsible for allowing a system of fiscal irresponsibility to exist,” Andrew Carey said in a statement.
The officers are scheduled to appear in court June 21.
Is not immediately known if any of the officers retained an attorney to comment on the charges.
The five arrested officers have been suspended without pay.
Edison Police Chief Thomas Bryan declined to comment about the arrests, but did say in a statement: "Once again, this demonstrates that the Edison Police Department took appropriate action. We identified an internal concern. We alerted the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office about those concerns and detectives from our Professional Standards Bureau worked closely with the county to investigate these matters. We continue to cooperate with the prosecutor’s office as this investigation proceeds."