A New Jersey state trooper is headed to prison for a plea-bargained 12 months without parole for stalking a female driver while on duty and disabling his dashcam to cover it up.
Trooper Michael Patterson, 30, of Bayonne also forfeited his job -- and any future public employment in New Jersey -- as part of a deal in which he pleaded guilty this summer to tampering with public records.
Patterson admitted pulling the victim over twice and then following her home to hit on her in January 2020, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said.
Patterson’s behavior “stands in stark contrast to the core values of the New Jersey State Police and is a betrayal to the public and to the entire law enforcement community,” NJSP Supt. Col. Patrick J. Callahan said.
“The New Jersey State Police expect the highest standards of conduct from their troopers, and the vast majority meet those standards each and every day," the attorney general said. "We owe it to the troopers, and to the public at large, to take strong action when individual officers betray those standards and engage in criminal conduct.”
Patterson first stopped the victim for an unspecified offense on the New Jersey Turnpike on Jan. 28, 2020, according to an indictment returned by a state grand jury in Trenton.
After letting her go with a warning, it said, Paterson “conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11 in order to make unwanted advances on the woman,” Bruck said.
“Patterson disabled the DIVR in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded during this stop,” the attorney general said.
The trooper also “put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle,” he said.
Deputy Attorneys General Adam Gerken and Jonathan Gilmore represented the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OPIA) at Monday's sentencing hearing, Bruck said.
The NJSP Office of Professional Standards initially investigated the case and referred it to the OPIA Corruption Bureau, he said.
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