A Harper Woods police officer has been suspended and charged with a drug offense — the second criminal case for the department in recent days, city authorities announced.
John Biernat was arraigned Friday in 32A District Court before Judge Daniel Palmer on one count of controlled substance use.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy’s office issued the charge following a probe that originated in the department. Jim Burke, the city’s police chief, turned the case over to the Michigan State Police, he said in a statement Friday. Other details were not released.
Biernat’s bond was set at $7,500 with conditions of no alcohol or illicit drug use. He cannot possess firearms or dangerous weapons away from home and must undergo a drug test in the next 24 hours as well as random testing twice a week, city officials reported Friday.
A pretrial hearing was set for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 23. If convicted, Biernat — who remains suspended without pay — could be sentenced to up to a year in jail, investigators said.
His case is the latest involving the Harper Woods Department of Public Safety.
On Wednesday, former police officer Michael Lynch was charged with a drug violation and stealing from the department’s property room following an internal investigation.
Lynch, who his lawyer described as a decorated officer with 18 years’ experience and no evidence of alcohol or drug problems, pleaded not guilty. A probable cause hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 27.
In his remarks Friday, Burke acknowledged how the incidents have thrust the department into the spotlight.
“The top priority of this department is the safety of our community, and maintaining the excellent relationships we have built and the trust you have placed in us,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who has reached out to us telling us that we still have that trust in spite of recent events. Your confidence in us is essential to continue the significant reductions in crime we are experiencing, and the demonstrated respect we have for each other.”