JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –
A woman's petition for a protective injunction against a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office sergeant accused of stalking was denied Tuesday after a three-hour hearing.
Sgt. Chad Collier's ex-girlfriend said he's been following her, texting her and sending her emails. In her injunction request, the woman said she believes she is in “imminent danger.”
After the couple broke up last fall, police said Collier tried to kill himself, but survived. He was held under the Baker Act and was released in March. According to court records obtained by News4Jax.com, that’s when his former girlfriend claimed he began stalking her.
Collier kept his job at the JSO, but the Integrity Unit began investigating him. They tracked Collier’s car and said they had records proving that he drove past the victim's home and workplace.
A detective contacted Collier’s ex-girlfriend last month and suggested she file a restraining order immediately. Collier’s superiors at JSO met with him and told him not to contact his ex-girlfriend anymore, and in March he told a judge he would stop.
In court Tuesday, the woman said he has not stopped. She said Collier sent her three separate text messages and two emails between April and June.
"He's not leaving me alone and he scares me," the woman testified.
But Collier told Judge James Daniel that the woman had been going through his phone messages and his email.
"I said, 'I've had enough of you going through my stuff.' It's inappropriate," Collier testified.
In denying her petition, Daniel said the accusations don't rise to the level of stalking, but told Collier:
It doesn't rise to the level of harassment, but she has indicated she doesn't want to hear from you. Proceed accordingly."
The woman denied the injunction was not pleased with the decision.
"I think it's the wrong decision," the former girlfriend said. "I'm scared, and I think that he (Collier) didn't listen to the prior judge. He's not going to listen to this judge. And it's going to take myself getting hurt by him for them to go, 'Oh, maybe I should have done the right thing.'"
Collier told the judge he felt an injunction could affect his career, something his ex-girlfriend says she wasn’t worried about.
"My concern is not what the Sheriff’s Office does. My concern is for myself," she said. "And I'm not in a position to (decide) should he work there or should he not. It's not my job to do that. I just want to make sure that I'm protected."
Undersheriff Pat Ivey sent a statement about Collier's status with the Sheriff's Office:
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has no comment on the court proceedings today involving Sgt. Chad Collier. He remains on desk duty. He has no badge (police powers) nor does he have a service weapon. The Sheriff’s Office Integrity Unit continues its investigation."
Collier's attorney has not returned calls for comment, but attorney Gene Nichols, who is not affiliated with this case, gave a legal perspective into the judge's decision.
"Typically, for a stalking injunction to be granted, there has to be no purpose (for the contact)," Nichols said. "It can't just be a text about something; it almost has to be about nothing, and continued, repeated harassment."