TRENTON – A former state trooper was sentenced to a year in prison for stalking a female motorist in his patrol vehicle while on duty.

Michael Patterson, 30, of Bayonne, pleaded guilty in August to a fourth-degree charge of tampering with public records. He purposedly disabled the Digital In-Vehicle Recorder in his troop car to prevent it from capturing a motor vehicle stop he conducted so that he could make advances on the female motorist.

“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,” said acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck. “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.”

“The conduct revealed in this investigation 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,” said Col. Patrick Callahan, the State Police superintendent.

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The incident occurred on Jan. 28, 2020, when Patterson conducted a motor vehicle stop of a female motorist on the New Jersey Turnpike at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Patterson let the woman go with a warning but then conducted a second, unwarranted stop of her vehicle a few minutes later when she exited the Turnpike at Exit 11 in order to make advances on her. For this stop, he disabled the camera in his vehicle to prevent his conduct from being recorded.

Patterson subsequently put the victim in fear by following her to her home in his patrol vehicle, according to investigators.

“This is not the first time we have encountered this type of conduct involving a law enforcement officer, but we hope that our criminal prosecutions will deter such conduct going forward,” said Thomas Eicher, executive director of the state Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.

Patterson was sentenced Tuesday by Superior Court Judge Andrea Carter in Middlesex County. He is ineligible for parole, forfeited his position as a state trooper, and is permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

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