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Five Edison Police Officers charged with official misconduct and theft

June 1, 2018

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that five officers of the Edison Police Department have been charged today with official misconduct and theft. 

Sergeant Ioannis (John) 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. 

An active investigation has revealed that between November 14, 2016 and May 1, 2018, certain police officers of the Edison Police Department have been getting paid for extra-duty jobs which they were not present for.  These extra-duty, or "side jobs," are in addition to the regular hours which a member of the police department is assigned to work for the town. 

The officers who volunteer to take these extra assignments have full police responsibilities while on the extra-duty assignments.  These assignments include directing traffic for utility companies as well as providing security services for local businesses and residential communities. 

In Edison, there is no centralized system of assignment for these extra-duty jobs.  Instead, several different individuals within the department have wide discretion as to who gets the assignments.  The payment for these extra-duty jobs can exceed $100,000 in a single year for an officer.  This money 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. The fee charged includes an administrative fee and an additional fee for a police vehicle when required. 

"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.  The assignment of extra-duty jobs being handled by multiple individuals with very little oversight, paired with an inadequate system of accounting, has directly resulted in nepotism and corruption."  -Andrew Carey, Middlesex County Prosecutor 

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 are scheduled to make their initial court appearance in Superior Court in New Brunswick on June 21, 2018. 

The investigation is active and is continuing with the possibility of additional arrests. Anyone with information is asked to call Captain Kenneth Schreck of the Edison Police Department at (732) 248-7453, or Detective Nicholas Chiorello of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-5217. 

As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against these individuals are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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