Oakland County man arraigned on multiple charges, pretending to be cop


FILE – This March 16, 2011 file photo shows a barbed wire fence outside inmate housing on New York’s Rikers Island correctional facility in New York. New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex, troubled by years of neglect, has spiraled into turmoil during the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — A conservation officer’s routine stop on Sept. 21 in Washtenaw county led to a man’s arraignment on four felony counts and one misdemeanor count.

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Officer Brandon Hartleben was on patrol near Spencer on the morning of Sept. 21 when he found a car approximately six feet down the embankment, off of the roadway.

According to DNR, Hartleben saw that the car had some damage to the side of it, likely from going off of the road.

The man, 63-year-old Clarkston native George Michael Galbraith, identified himself as a member of the Waterford Township Police Department, holding a badge out of the window upon Hartleben’s arrival.

The badge appeared to be fake and displayed “Crime Prevention Officer” on it. Hartleben then confirmed that Galbraith is not employed by Waterford Township nor involved in any current hiring processes.

After the man got out of the car, Hartleben found a gun and Sam Browne-style belt stuffed next to the driver’s seat. The belt contained a single handcuff case and a gun holster containing a loaded Smith and Wesson M&P .40-caliber pistol.

Additionally, Galbraith wore a coat with a zip-on attachment that read “POLICE.” Hartleben also discovered a cased shotgun loaded in the tube and a cased Smith and Wesson .380 handgun in the trunk of the car.

“Luckily, this man was taken into custody without incident,” said F/Lt. Todd Szyska, of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division, District 9, and Hartleben’s supervisor. “Falsely representing yourself as a peace officer is an egregious breach of public trust, and we are glad this man is off the road.”

Galbraith was arraigned Friday in 14A District Court in Ann Arbor on a four-count felony warrant and a one-year misdemeanor charge including:

  • Carrying a concealed weapon.
  • Firearm possession by felon.
  • Ammunition possession by felon.
  • Possession of dangerous weapon (billy club).
  • Falsely representing oneself as a peace officer.

Galbraith’s next court date is yet to be determined.

For each of the felonies, he faces up to five years in prison and a fine of not more than $2,500, plus court costs.

The misdemeanor charge of impersonating a peace officer is punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

Anyone with information regarding this case should contact F/Lt. Szyska via email at SzyskaT@Michigan.gov.

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