Wildwood’s “Cops in Shop” Program Snares a Gloucester City Police Officer and the Real Truth About the Suppose Fight Between Two Cops
“You publish the crime reports about other people being arrested but yet when the cops do wrong you don’t report it. How come?” ~ signed Anonymous
By Bill Cleary
EDITOR’S NOTE: We received several inquiries from readers who wondered why we haven’t reported on the actions of two Gloucester City police officers who were arrested in Cape May County within the last year. We also heard from people who were inquiring about two City police officers who supposedly got into a "fight" at a retirement party. The combanants were identified as Gloucester City Patrolman Bill Johnson and Patrolman Jim Little.
“You publish the crime reports about other people being arrested but yet when the cops do wrong you don’t report it. How come?”
The facts for the beginning of the article came from a 17-page Wildwood police report that was delivered to us. That same report appears on the blog Camden County and Gloucester County Truth .
We heard the rumor about the officer’s skirmish a few weeks ago. At the time we asked Police Chief George Berglund for a comment. He never responded. We also asked mayor and council for their thoughts on these incidents. We are still waiting.
However, we were able to get a statement from Officer Bill Johnson, who is the president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) Local 40. Johnson gives a detail statement explaining exactly what happened that night.
(CNBNews.net) GLOUCESTER CITY NJ--Newly hired Gloucester City Police Officer Shea O’Donnell was arrested last month by Wildwood police and charged with drinking and driving, according to a Wildwood police report.
His brother Blaise O’Donnell, also a Gloucester City cop, was arrested last year on July 31 in North Wildwood.
Shea O’Donnell, a Gloucester City resident, was one of three officers hired by mayor and council in February 2013. The other two officers were Brittany Pollander and Timothy Ryder. Shortly after being sworn in the new officers began a 19-week rigorous course at the Gloucester County Police Academy. On July 10 they all graduated.
Two days later, on July 12, around 8pm, O’Donnell was observed at Greens Liquor Store, New Jersey Avenue, by several Wildwood police officers who were working undercover as part of the Cops in Shops program.
The Cops in Shops is a community partnership between local retailers and law enforcement designed to deter minors from attempting to purchase alcohol and to discourage adults from purchasing alcohol for minors.
The Cops in Shops program is funded by a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) as administered through the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety - Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Undercover police officers are assigned to participating retail locations to apprehend those underage who attempt to purchase alcohol and those adults that purchase alcohol for minors.
The Cops in Shops Program has been implemented in 42 states nationwide and has proven to be an effective deterrent for alcohol abuse by minors.
According to the police report, O’Donnell was stopped outside of the liquor store by Detective Kenneth Gallagher, who observed O’Donnell loading cases of alcohol into his vehicle. The detective determined that O’Donnell was intoxicated. He told O’Donnell to leave the vehicle parked, and not to drive. O’Donnell walked away but 18- minutes later, around 8:18pm, he was observed by police sitting behind the wheel of his parked vehicle and driving away.
Police stopped O’Donnell at 26th Street and New Jersey Avenue. When he was asked to get of his car, police said O’Donnell was staggering, and needed to hold on to the vehicle to steady himself.
Wildwood Police Officer Matthew Sicilia wrote in the report, "When I spoke with O’Donnell I made several observations of possible impairment. I observed that O’Donnell’s eyes were bloodshot and watery. O’Donnell’s face was also flushed and he spoke with slurred speech. I was also able to detect an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath when I spoke with him."
Police administered several tests to O’Donnell to determine if he was intoxicated. According to the police report, he failed all of them. Back at the police station O’Donnell originally agreed to take the breath test but at the last minute he said to the officer, “Fuck that!”
The test was then terminated, according to the police report.
From Officer Sicilia's report, “It should be noted that O’Donnell was verbally hostile towards me during the course of the processing.
Gloucester City Police Officer Shea O’Donnell was charged by the Wildwood police with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), Refusal to take a Breath Test, and Careless Driving.
In New Jersey the penalties for refusing to take the initial breath test begin with a suspension of your license for seven months and a fine from $300 to $500. You will lose your license for two years and have to pay a fine of $500 to $1,000 if this is your second refusal. For your third refusal, the suspension lasts for ten years and the fine is $1,000.
If found guilty of careless driving it is automatic two points. The fines can range from $78 to $200, if convicted in Court. You must also be aware that any conviction of a violation for points may result in increase insurance premiums and NJ State Surcharges.
This is the second Gloucester City Police Officer to be arrested in Cape May County.
Last summer, on July 31, 2012, Patrolman Blaise C. O’Donnell was arrested by North Wildwood police and charged with Disorderly Conduct, Improper Behavior, Recklessly Creating Risk by way of Violence or Threats.
At the time of his arrest the newly hired officer, like his brother Shea, was serving a six-month probation period. When asked about the incident last year Police Chief George Berglund said it was a personnel matter and he wouldn't comment any further.
In August 2012, according to GCNJ.typepad.com, Officer Blaise O'Donnell plead guilty to an amended charge of the local noise ordinance. He paid a fine of $250, plus $33 in court costs.
As for the alleged fight between the two officers it was supposed to have happened at a retirement party held for former Patrolman Bob Lee
There were about 60 officers at the affair held at the Hog and Bull bar/restaurant, Route 130 and Klemm Avenue.
That much is true.
Some of the gossip and rumors being circulated for the passed month had the two cops fighting inside the bar. One tale had Chief Berglund fighting with Little. Someone said they saw the off-duty officers fighting in the bar parking lot. Once outside Johnson supposedly pushed Little, and Little fell breaking his leg.
In an effort clear up the rumors, Officer Johnson released the following written statement on Tuesday, August 6.
"It is true that Little and I were present at the Hog and Bull celebrating Bobby Lee's retirement. Towards the end of the night, Little and I had a discussion about a union, police sensitive, matter. Little is a member of the PBA Executive Board, and as you know, I am the President/Delegate. The two of us went outside to talk, not fight, away from the non-police patrons and employees who were starting to listen to what we were saying. Outside, we agreed to disagree (common occurance between two union executive board members) and went our separate ways.