July 25, 2012 at 6:02 PM ET
A police officer in Camden County, New Jersey has been charged with two felonies for "misusing his police powers for personal reasons." The man is believed to have accessed a police database to look up information about a woman he'd driven past while on duty. He then supposedly used those details to look her up on Facebook and send her a friend request.
Jason Laughlin, public information officer for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office, told TODAY.com that the officer in question is Jeffrey Tyther, a 14-year veteran of the Voorhees Police Department. Tyther was charged with computer theft and violation of the Motor Vehicle Record Law — second- and fourth-degree felonies, respectively — on Monday.
The incident in question occurred on September 9, 2011. On that day, Tyther is believed to have accessed the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database and looked up the personal information of a woman he'd passed while on duty. The woman was not stopped, let alone issued a ticket or any other citation, according to Laughlin. "Tyther was on duty in a marked police cruiser when he saw [the woman] pass him. He pulled up behind her, then pulled next to her and waved at her. At no time did Tyther or the other motorist stop their vehicles or speak."
While Laughlin was not able to list all the details Tyther may have seen when he looked the woman up in the NCIC database, he did confirm that the woman's name, address, outstanding records and other information would've been available, among other things. Laughlin explains that the NCIC database is "specifically limited to law enforcement purposes only," meaning that it should only be used "to further a criminal investigation." Not to look up random women.
After Tyther looked up the woman, he'd used her information to find her on Facebook, a press release from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office details:
He attempted to “friend” her within a few days of seeing her on the road. When she didn’t respond to the friend request Tyther emailed her, identifying himself as the officer who waved at her earlier that week.
The woman told a co-worker about the incident and the co-worker contacted police.
Tyther turned himself in on Monday, after being suspended without pay from the Voorhees Police Department on Saturday. He was released on a summons.
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