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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Wilmington police officer has been charged with stealing money from the department. Master Corporal Michael Ballard, a 14-year-veteran of the force, is accused of embezzling nearly $22,000 over the last three years.

“It is with great sadness and disappointment that we announce the arrest of M/Cpl. Michael Ballard,” said Wilmington Police Chief Robert J. Tracy.  “Regardless of the personal struggles that police officers face on a daily basis, we must never break the trust of the public we serve.  Our badge is a symbol of that public trust.  This was initiated as an internal investigation by officers of the Wilmington Police Department, who have a true understanding of the importance of upholding our department’s integrity. This administration is committed to excellence in not only public safety, but in conducting ourselves with honor and integrity in serving the community each and every day.”

The department began investigating Ballard in September when other officers suspected possible misconduct.