JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville police officer is facing a felony charge after investigators said she secretly recorded conversations between her and her sergeant.
Police said they began investigating 40-year-old Officer Hazel Moore, a 10-year JSO veteran, in January after someone reported their suspicions. They said Moore told them there was some kind of issue or conflict between her and her sergeant and she felt like he was picking on her, and police said that's why she decided to record without him knowing on her work computer.
"We got information a little while back that she was using her JSO-issued laptop to secretly record conversations that she was having with other members of our agency without their knowledge or permission, which is against the law," Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said at a news conference Thursday morning.
Senterfitt said Moore's sergeant believed she was recording him, and he made his lieutenant aware. He said they took her and her laptop down to the IT department and didn't see any files at first. Then they found deleted files, some video but primarily audio, Senterfitt said.
He said the conversations were with a couple different officers and a sergeant.
Florida is a two-party consent state, meaning all parties have to consent to being recorded.
"While under federal law you only need the consent of one party, in Florida you need the consent of all parties to the conversation," said Rod Sullivan, of Florida Coastal School of Law. "And if you don't, it's a criminal violation and can also bring civil penalties."
As a result, Moore is facing three counts of illegal inception of communication and tampering with evidence because police said she tried to delete the files.
"She told us that she was secretly recording them and that she was going to keep up with files of what these people were doing and saying," Senterfitt said. "I believe there was some conflict that is probably a little strong between her and her sergeant, and she felt like he was picking on her a little bit or something."
Moore, who's been with JSO since 2003, has been suspended once before.
According to an Internal Affairs report, Moore put on a JSO Biggest Loser contest based on the TV show. She collected $7,800 and spent most of it. While complaints against her were upheld by Internal Affairs, the state attorney's office declined prosecution, saying she posted the winners and how much they'd won, indicating her intent to pay them. Moore eventually did pay all the winners.
Senterfitt said Moore chose to go on voluntary leave without pay as of her arrest Wednesday night. He said she had never brought up any issues with her sergeant before.
"I don't think there was any evidence of either of them saying anything bad about the other," Senterfitt said. "I'm not really sure what the purpose was."
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