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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On-Duty Officer Arrested on Drug Charges

Gloucester Township patrolman Tom Eden Jr. arrested on drug charges 
The Gloucester County Times by Don E. Woods  -  April 5, 2012 

GLOUCESTER TWP., NJ — An on-duty police officer exited a Howard Johnson motel room Tuesday afternoon after purchasing five Percocet pills and two Oxycontin placebo pills, according to police. Before he could reach his patrol car parked outside on the Black Horse Pike, Gloucester Township Police arrested the uniformed officer — their colleague — for possession. Authorities charged Tom Eden Jr., a patrolman with Gloucester Township Police for seven and a half years, with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of an imitation controlled dangerous substance, possession of a weapon during a controlled dangerous substance offense and possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance. Eden was processed at the township police headquarters and released on his own recognizance. The 31-year-old officer is now suspended from the police department without pay with intent to dismiss. As of Wednesday, no court date had been set for Eden. During a press conference at the Gloucester Township municipal building on Wednesday afternoon, Chief of Police W. Harry Earle said the investigation began when an anonymous civilian tipped off a Gloucester Township patrol officer. The civilian alleged that Eden was illegally purchasing prescription pills. After an investigation by the police’s Internal Affairs Bureau with guidance from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, police organized a buy between Eden and a confidential informant. Eden was arrested without incident, police said. After the arrest, according to Earle, two pills of Alazopram and one pill of Oxycodone were also found in Eden’s possession. “I am angered that Mr. Eden allegedly abused his position of trust by violating the very laws he swore to uphold and defend as a Gloucester Township Police officer,” Earle said during the press conference. “These actions are clearly not consistent with the ethical and moral standards of the Gloucester Township Police Department and will never be tolerated.” Earle said that he is proud of the 178 sworn and civil employees of the police department and points to the initial tip, given to an officer from an unfamiliar civilian, as an example of the amount of faith the community has in the department. The investigation is still ongoing. As part of a normal review, past arrests made by Eden are currently being investigated, Earle said, but there is no cause for concern yet. Police urge anybody with additional information about possible improper or illegal contact involving Eden to contact the Professional Standards Bureau at 856-374-5707 or the anonymous tip line at 856-842-5560. Earle calls prescription pill abuse a national problem and said this incident shows how it can affect anybody. “What this incident shows is that prescription drug addiction is a silent epidemic that affects every community,” said township Mayor David R. Mayer added. Mayer thanked Earle and the department for the professionalism and the work they put into making the arrest. “It was through the work of the men and women who proudly wear the uniform of the Gloucester Township police officer that we were able to take an individual, who was sworn to uphold the law, off the streets of Gloucester Township,” the mayor said. “What this incident shows is that this behavior will not be tolerated in Gloucester township,” the mayor said.

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