Suspended Essex County Detective Indicted On Charge Of Official Misconduct For Installing GPS Device On Civilian’s Vehicle Without Authorization

Grewal

Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced that a suspended detective in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office was indicted today for installing a Global Positioning System (“GPS”) tracking device on a civilian’s vehicle without obtaining the required warrant from a judge or departmental authorization.

Timothy Kealy, 27, of Bloomfield, N.J., was indicted today by a state grand jury on a charge of second-degree official misconduct. The indictment was obtained by the Attorney General’s Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) as the result of an investigation by the Professional Standards Bureau of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office (“ECPO”).

The ECPO Professional Standards Bureau began investigating Kealy in January 2020 after learning that Kealy, who was assigned to the Essex County Narcotics Task Force, had allegedly purchased and installed a GPS tracking device on a civilian’s car without formal or legal authority. The ECPO has a process by which detectives must obtain permission from supervisors to apply to a judge for a warrant, and only ECPO-issued GPS devices may be used. A court-issued warrant is required by law for law enforcement to install a GPS device on a vehicle. Kealy was suspended as a result of the investigation.

The charge of second-degree official misconduct carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison, including a mandatory minimum term of five years of parole ineligibility, and a fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Deputy Attorney General Eric C. Cohen presented the case to the state grand jury for the OPIA Corruption Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Peter Lee and OPIA Deputy Director Anthony Picione. Attorney General Grewal thanked the Professional Standards Bureau of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for their investigation and referral.

Attorney General Grewal created the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) in September 2018 to combat corruption and strengthen public confidence in government institutions.  In December 2019, the Attorney General issued a directive codifying OPIA and making it a permanent part of the Attorney General’s Office.  That directive established the OPIA Corruption Bureau as the lead office within the Department of Law & Public Safety for the investigation and prosecution of state criminal violations involving corruption and abuse of public trust.

OPIA has a toll-free Tipline 1-844-OPIA-TIPS for the public to report corruption.  The AG’s Office has an Anti-Corruption Reward Program that offers a reward of up to $25,000 for tips leading to a conviction for a crime involving public corruption.  Information is posted at: http://nj.gov/oag/corruption/reward.html.

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