Criminal charges filed against Essex County detective

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced July 10 that criminal charges were filed against a suspended detective in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly lying to internal affairs investigators in an investigation concerning his installation of a GPS device on a suspect’s vehicle without obtaining the required warrant from a judge or departmental authorization.

The Office of Public Integrity and Accountability charged Timothy Kealy, 27, of Bloomfield, by complaint-summons with the following criminal offenses: hindering apprehension or prosecution in the third degree, and tampering with public records or information in the third degree.

The Professional Standards Bureau of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office began investigating Kealy in January 2020 after learning that Kealy, who was assigned to the Essex County Narcotics Task Force, had allegedly purchased and installed a GPS tracking device on a suspect’s car without formal or legal authority. The ECPO has a process by which detectives must obtain permission from supervisors to apply to a judge for a warrant, and only ECPO-issued GPS devices may be used. A court-issued warrant is required by law for law enforcement to install a GPS device on a vehicle. 

Kealy was suspended as a result of the investigation and was ordered by PSB detectives to turn over his service weapon and various other items, including his county-issued phone. In connection with the hindering and tampering charges, it is alleged that Kealy lied about the whereabouts of the county-issued phone, saying it was at a repair shop, in order to prevent PSB detectives from obtaining access to the phone. The phone was not at the repair shop and has not been recovered. 

The attorney general thanked the Professional Standards Bureau of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office for its investigation and referral.

Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proved guilty.