Oakland County man with weapons, fake badge accused of impersonating police officer

When a conservation officer stopped to help a driver whose vehicle slid off the road in Washtenaw County, he discovered a man who was impersonating a police officer, authorities said.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, the CO Brandon Hartleben was patrolling near Spencer and 8 Mile roads in Northfield Township around 6 a.m. on Sept. 21 when he saw a vehicle about 6 feet down the embankment.

When he went to help, he saw a man who was holding a badge in a wallet out of his window. Authorities said the man, identified as George Michael Galbraith, 63, of Clarkston, said he worked for the Waterford Township Police Department. 

Hartleben convinced Galbraith to give him the wallet. According to authorities, the badge said "Crime Prevention Officer" on it. However, the DNR said Hartleben contacted Waterford police and confirmed that Galbraith did not work there.

According to the DNR, Hartleben found a gun, Sam Browne style belt, a handcuff case, two handguns, and a shotgun in the vehicle. Galbraith was wearing a coat with a zip-on attachment that said, "Police," authorities said.

Galbraith is charged with carrying a concealed weapon, firearm possession by a felon, ammunition possession by a felon, possession of a dangerous weapon, and falsely representing oneself as a peace officer.

"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."