Republican Mayor retaliates against Democratic cop who is running for Assembly

Republican Mayor Owen Henry is pointing fingers and rewriting facts as his Old Bridge administration persecutes cops for speaking out and running for elected office as Democrats.

Republican Mayor Owen Henry is pointing fingers and rewriting facts as his Old Bridge administration persecutes cops for speaking out and running for elected office as Democrats.

Republican Old Bridge Mayor Owen Henry appears to be trying to intimidate a township police officer who is running for a seat in the New Jersey General Assembly, but the scheme could backfire as the cop hired an attorney to counter the attempted retaliation and make the matter public.

Robert P. Kurzydlowski, who is running for Assembly on the Democratic ticket along with David W. Merwin, became the target of an internal police investigation after a complaint was filed by the GOP mayor’s top political appointee.

Kurzydlowski, widely known around town as ‘Officer K,’ hired attorney Robert C. Brown, who retired from the Old Bridge police force after being injured in a shoot out with a deranged gunman at a township apartment complex in 1981.

Brown, who was struck by bullets in his hand and chest, returned gunfire and killed his attacker in the intense battle.

The lawyer says Kurzydlowski’s rights are being abused by his employer and those illegal actions jeopardize taxpayers because he runs a government entity.

Brown said the complaint filed by the township’s business administrator is subjecting his client to a “groundless misconduct investigation” because he is exercising his constitutional right by running for public office.

With Merwin and Kurzydlowski at the top of the Democratic ticket, Henry is on the other side of the political fence and faces another Democrat, former Old Bridge Police Captain Bill Cerra, who aims to deny the Republican a second term.

Beside trying to intimidate and harass Kurzydlowski, Henry has earned animosity among cops because he laid off ten members of the township police department within weeks of taking office, following a surprise victory four years ago.

That brought the department’s manpower to its lowest level in at least three decades.

The depleted police force failed to solve 72 percent of the crimes reported last year, according to reports compiled by the New Jersey State Police.

This has also ginned up controversy as local police publicly disputed Republican claims that they hired more police.

Officer Vincent Galgano sent a letter newspapers taking Councilman Brian Cahill and Mayor Owen Henry to task for being untruthful with residents about police manpower and other issues.

In a statement published by another newspaper, Cahill claimed that there are more police officers today than when Henry took office as Mayor in 2012.

Before the Republicans laid off 10 police officers in 2012 there were 94 police officers in Old Bridge, now there are 89. While eight of the 10 cops have been rehired, retirement attrition has continued to keep police manpower levels at or near a 30 year low.

“I resent the councilman’s mistruths and his using the fine men and women of the Old Bridge police department to score political points in the current race for mayor and council,” said Galgano, 16-year veteran of the police force.

Promoting the unsubstantiated side of the argument is George Gough, a local Republican activist who landed a motor vehicles job with the State of New Jersey in 2011, Governor Chris Christie’s second year in office.

Gough maligns Galgano, who sources say also faces a departmental inquiry, apparently for criticizing the Republican mayor.

“Galgano is not a concerned police officer as he is trying to portray himself, rather he is a political operative for the Democratic Party,” said Gough.

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