FREEHOLD – Two Asbury Park police officers are facing charges for vandalizing two vehicles around September 3, 2019, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Officer Stephen Martinsen, 29, and Special Law Enforcement Officer Class 2, Thomas Dowling, 26, both of Asbury Park, are charged with two counts each of third degree Conspiracy, two counts each of third degree Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Knife), two counts each of fourth degree Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Knife), two counts each of fourth degree Criminal Mischief.
These charges stem from two separate vandalism incidents on two vehicles, one in Asbury Park and one in Ocean Grove, on or about Tuesday, September 3. Police allege that Martinsen and Dowling purposely damaged both vehicles. Both cars were owned by the same person, who had also filed an administrative complaint against the two officers a few days before the incidents.
“The vast majority of law enforcement officers perform their duties with integrity and honor. However, when a police officer takes advantage of the very citizens they are sworn to protect, it erodes public confidence and violates the public’s trust. Such behavior will never be acceptable or tolerated. If these charges prove to be true, this is the quintessential definition of a breach of trust between law enforcement and the public,” said Prosecutor Gramiccioni.
Martinsen joined the department in 2013 as a Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 1. He became a Class 2 in May of 2014 and then a full-time member of the force in July of 2017. Martinsen has since been suspended without pay.
Dowling has been a Class 2 officer since May of 2015. Dowling’s employment with the city of Asbury Park has since been terminated.
If convicted of third degree charges, Martinsen and Dowling face up to 20 years in New Jersey State Prison. If convicted of fourth degree charges, Martinsen and Dowling face 72 months in prison.
“The Asbury Park Police Department would like to thank the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office for their professionalism and swift action regarding the matter surrounding these two officers. Their behavior is not acceptable and does not represent the level of professionalism, community focus or resident safety that we expect of our officers. We will not let the actions of these officers overshadow the great work and dedication by the men and women of this department,” said Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso.