Paterson Police, during a routine traffic stop near 21st Avenue and 30th Street, arrested a man who was sporting a Sheriff’s Officer badge, reported the Record, a newspaper based out of Woodland Park.
Benicio Morales Jr, 37-year-old, said he had found the badge somewhere near Garret Mountain Reservation, but after further questioning, the man changed his story and said he had bought the badge for ten dollars from another person hanging about Garret Mountain.
After making the arrest, the city’s police handed Mr Morales to the Sheriff’s Office, where he was charged, and released.
Earlier in the week, the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department said it had instituted new badges that were digital, and much easier to track and recover if stolen; the badge that was in Mr Morales possession was outdated, in other words, and therefore it was useless.
When there are individuals out on the streets with fake badges, who are stopping vehicles or using the coercive power of police in an unaccountable manner, confidence in law enforcement declines leading to a sapping of trust between society and its law enforcement agencies and officials.