Background Checks for Elected Officials in Another Shore Town After Councilman’s Arrest


SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS-Spring Lake Heights Borough Councilman Robert Merriken is in hot water after an arrest captured on a police officer’s body cam landed the elected official in jail on CDS charges in Neptune City.

Merriken was arrested April 4th and police found a hypodermic syringe and a rubber band in the vehicle.

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Oral Sex in a Cemetery

According to the Star News Group, it wasn’t Merriken’s first run-in with the law.  The councilman was charged in January of 2015 for trespassing at the Neptune Township Chesed Shel Ames Hebrew Cemetery where police claimed he paid a prostitute $25 for oral sex.

Spring Lake Heights said it may consider requiring political parties to perform background checks on candidates.

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Background Checks for Political Candidates at the Shore

The background checks are not exactly new to political candidates. Earlier this year, the Jackson Township Republican Club announced it will now require candidates to undergo background checks after multiple officials appointed by the club to positions within the township ended up either on the wrong side of the law or close to it.

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A zoning board member, Anthony Morano was caught distributing child pornography and culminated with an armed standoff with Jackson police officers when they went to his home for his arrest.

Another zoning board member, John Burrows made public threats against New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer and Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore, wishing for their deaths.

Photo Neptune City Police body cam still, provided via OPRA Request by Star News Group.