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The Washington Post reports that Long Branch police made the discovery following a report of a domestic disturbance at the home, where officer Christopher Walls lives with his wife and child. The 19-year police veteran has since been hit with a slew of charges, including operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, risking widespread injury, and possession of methamphetamine. He’s being held in a local jail and has been suspended from the force without pay.
“It is disappointing beyond measure that one of our officers could have risked the safety of his family and neighbors by engaging in such dangerous conduct,” acting police chief Frank Rizzuto said. The mayor also said Long Branch has a “no tolerance policy” for the kind of behavior that Walls has exhibited.
Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni also issued a statement: “A very serious risk to public safety has been averted,” he said, adding that “it is particularly distressing that this hazard was caused by a sworn law enforcement officer.” Walls’ employment is also set to be terminated by the city’s head of public safety.
Someone who lives at Walls’ home called the domestic disturbance into authorities and described Walls’ involvement in narcotics to officers at the scene. According to the prosecutor, a hazmat team found “materials, chemicals, and instruments consistent with a methamphetamine laboratory in both the basement of the residence and in a shed on the property,” and authorities found “books related to making methamphetamine.” Elsewhere, a number of weapons were found in an unsecured safe that Walls’ child could easily get into.
Walls faces additional charges in connection to endangering the welfare of a child. He could be hit with 20 years in prison if he is indicted for running a meth lab.