Three Lawrence Township police officers are facing criminal charges for falsifying government records, following an internal investigation by the Lawrence Township Police Department, Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo Onofri said.
Police officers Hector Nieves, Liubove Bjorklund and Timothy Wallace were suspended from the Lawrence Township Police Department without pay after they were charged with the offenses May 21, Onofri said.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office was contacted earlier this month by the Lawrence Township Police Department to look into allegations of “deceptive conduct and falsifying records,” Onofri said.
“The investigation revealed that the officers engaged in intentional misrepresentation of their actual locations, which included falsifying reports and records,” Onofri said. One officer re-aligned his in-car video recorder camera, he said.
“These officers allowed their purely personal interests to infect the proper performance of their legal obligations as police officers,” Onofri said.
Two of the three police officers also violated Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order that closed all state and county parks by allegedly entering the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park in Princeton, Onofri said.
Nieves, 44, and Bjorklund, 32, were charged with falsifying government records and with violating the governor’s executive order by entering the state park April 23 while it was closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic “for a purpose unrelated to any official function or capacity,” according to the prosecutor’s office.
Nieves also was charged with tampering with records.
Nieves allegedly falsely documented his location in CAD (computer aided dispatch) records 19 times between March 21 and May 11. He also was discovered to have altered the view of his in-car camera several times while on duty so that it did not show him privately meeting with an off-duty female police officer.
In one incident, the camera’s position was altered so that it would not record him and the off-duty female police officer meeting or entering the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park while it was closed, Onofri said.
Bjorklund allegedly falsified her location in meal break CFS (calls for service) records 11 times between March 20 and May 4, and entered the Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park in Princeton while it was closed under the governor’s executive order, Onofri said.
Wallace was charged with falsifying government records for allegedly falsely documenting his location in a CAD record May 4, Onorfi said.