NJ Police Chief Accused of Utilizing Officers to Carry out Escorts for His Non-public Enterprise – NBC New York
According to a criminal complaint published on Monday, a police chief in northern New Jersey is being prosecuted for allegedly using officers to carry escorts for his private funeral home.
The attorney general said Saddle Brook police chief Robert Kugler had been charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and corruption of public resources. He was suspended on Tuesday.
A criminal complaint alleges that from January 2019 to last August, 59-year-old Kugler ordered officers to escort police vehicles during regular opening hours, in violation of municipal regulations, and did not reimburse the city for the costs. They also reportedly provided escorts to cemeteries outside of Saddle Brook.
John Bruno, Kugler’s attorney, said his client was “anxious to get all the facts known” and believed that he would be exonerated, saying he was “shocked and outraged by the allegations”.
When asked if Kugler would only send officers on duty to his funeral home, Bruno said he believed it was “a courtesy that extends to other funeral homes”.
The Bergen District Attorney’s Office has taken over the day-to-day operations of the Saddle Brook Police Department, according to the Attorney General’s office.
A relative said the Kugler Funeral Home made no comment on the charges. Saddle Brook Mayor Robert White said he was concerned about the charges and after speaking to prosecutors he understood why they were taking control.
“At first I was taken back by them who wanted to take over the police,” said White. “After they explained it to me, I realized that it would be better for the city if they took temporary control of the department.”
The charge of conspiracy and official misconduct amounts to five to ten years after conviction, whereby in the case of the number of misconduct there is a mandatory minimum of five years without probation.