A troubled cop who remains on the job despite a history of stalking accusations, a domestic violence arrest and a February suicide attempt, heads back to domestic violence court Tuesday to face allegations from inside his own agency.
According to a request for a protective order, filed in court last week, Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Chad Collier has continued to stalk, text and email his ex-girlfriend despite promises to a judge in April that he would have no contact with her.
JSO’s integrity unit — which investigates criminal activity — has been tracking Collier’s vehicle for the past two months, according to the injunction request. A detective with that unit plans to testify at the injunction hearing that Collier has been circling his ex-girlfriend’s workplace several times a day in “a clear pattern of stalking.”
This is not the first time Collier has been accused of threatening or unstable behavior.
As First Coast News reported in April, the 20-year veteran officer attempted suicide in February, according to a report from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.
In the presence of his mother, he fired his JSO-issued Glock as he held it below his jaw, surviving but losing his left eye.
Collier was placed into psychiatric treatment for two months following the attempt, according to court papers, and has been on desk duty since then. JSO confiscated his badge and gun, but he retains his rank and continues to work in a supervisory role in the agency’s Teleserv division.
Tuesday’s hearing will be the second time Collier has been accused by this particular girlfriend of stalking. In April, she said Collier followed her to work, sent 50 to 60 text messages a day, and exhibited frightening behavior, including once throwing a salad across the room. In her injunction request, she said she believed she was in “imminent danger,” noting he’d already shot himself.
Judge Tyrie Boyer refused her request for a protective order, saying the only violent act that Collier had committed — the suicide attempt — was against himself.
But prior girlfriends have also accused Collier of stalking and domestic violence.
In 2005, he was arrested after police say he kicked in an ex-girlfriend’s door in Jacksonville Beach. He got a 30-day suspension but the charges were dropped and he remained on the job.
Another girlfriend complained to police in 2013 that he was stalking her, using agency search engines to harass her and breaking into her home. The Sheriff’s Office investigated but only found that he’d failed to conform to work standards for using his police car to drive to her Clay County home.
Undersheriff Pat Ivey told First Coast News in April that the agency would have to await the outcome of an administrative review related to the suicide attempt before it could take any action on his employment. He noted that Collier could not be fired without due process, and that the judge’s denial of the injunction request meant that stalking allegation would not be considered a mark against him.
Ivey admitted having concerns about what could be considered “a pattern” of behavior, but he observed there are strict time limits on how far back the agency can look when it is considering discipline.
Asked today how the agency could retain an officer when its own integrity unit was accusing him of stalking, Ivey said that process, like any criminal allegation, would have to be settled in court before the Sheriff’s Office could react to it.