Clarkston man arraigned for impersonating a peace officer

A routine stop September 21 in Washtenaw County to assist a driver who had gone off the roadway turned up more than expected for Michigan Department of Natural Resources Conservation Officer Brandon Hartleben, and for the motorist, 63-year-old Clarkston resident George Michael Galbraith, who since has been arraigned on charges including false representation as a peace officer.
Galbraith was arraigned September 24 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), and falsely representing oneself as a peace officer.
Hartleben was patrolling near Spencer and 8 Mile roads in Northfield Township around 6 a.m. when he encountered a vehicle off the roadway and about six feet down an embankment. Hartleben stopped and noted the right rear tire was flat and there was damage to that side of the vehicle.
The vehicle appeared to be occupied by a man who was holding a badge in a wallet out of his window and claimed to work for the Waterford Township Police Department.
After convincing the man to give him the wallet – the badge appeared to be a fake and displayed “Crime Prevention Officer” stamped on it – Hartleben confirmed with Waterford Township that the man is neither employed by the township nor involved in any current hiring processes.
After the man exited the vehicle, Hartleben found a gun/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. The man also wore a coat with a zip-on attachment that read “POLICE.” Hartleben also discovered in the rear of the vehicle a cased shotgun loaded in the tube as well as a cased Smith and Wesson .380 handgun.
“Luckily, this man was taken into custody without incident,” said F/Lt. Todd Szyska, of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Falsely representing yourself as a peace officer is an egregious breach of public trust, and we are glad this man is off the road.”
For each of the felonies, Galbraith faces up to five years in prison and a fine of not more than $2,500, plus court costs. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to one year in prison or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

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