Former Harvey Cedars Police Chief Jerry Falkowski has returned to the department as its civilian police director. The move, which took effect Monday, was recommended by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office in the wake of two officers involved in legal troubles.
Borough Clerk Daina Dale said Falkowski will be paid $400 per day through a six-month period. After that, his job could be extended for another six months, but for not more than a year.
“I don’t expect him to be here every day during the week,” said Dale. “That’s something still to be worked out. And as a civilian director, he does not have arrest powers. He’s going to oversee department operations during this time.”
The 65-year-old Falkowski was appointed chief in 2005, and retired in 2009. He initially joined the department as a patrolman in 1983.
Last month, 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. He is suspended without pay.
Prosecutor Bradley J. Billhimer said the arrest was the result of of an audit that revealed a silver necklace, valued in excess of $200, was missing from the evidence room while Oldham was the custodian of evidence.
In early May, former Sgt. Sean Marti pleaded guilty to the charge of theft of movable property, which in this instance was an ATV donated to the department. But Marti 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.
He was subsequently sentenced to two years of supervised probation. As a condition of his probation, Marti must also make restitution by returning the ATV to its rightful owner.
“Right now, I just hope I can do what I can to get us back on track,” said Falkowski. “I think we’re going to get through this and we’ll be fine. I still believe we have good people here, and we just hit a rough patch.”
— Eric Englund