PEORIA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Peoria police officer is facing a felony charge after police said he illegally looked up background information on a woman, who his friend wanted to date.
According to police, Officer Amaury Fernandez was working a patrol shift on July 27 and his friend was doing a ride-along with him.
During the ride-along, the friend asked Fernandez to do a records check on a woman at work he was trying to date, according to court paperwork.
So Fernandez ran the woman's name and date of birth to get background information on her in the police system.
A few days later, his friend approached the woman at work and said he was sorry she was molested when she was 8 years old. When she asked how he knew that, he said his officer friend looked up the information during a ride-along.
On July 31, the woman called the Peoria Police Department and told them what happened.
Brandon Sheffert with Peoria Police said the department has random quarterly audits when it comes to officers performing computer searches on people.
"Everything is tracked," said Sheffert. "That entire system is tracked, so if they start to see someone starting to run famous people for instance, that will flag over DPS. They’ll give us a call and say can you check on this, and that’s when our professional standards unit will get involved."
Officers have the ability to look up someone's information just using their name.
"When we’re in the vehicles we can run license plates," said Sheffert. "That gives us a registered owner, address, driver status, a lot of what’s on the physical driver’s license. We can also run a person, so if we have contact with someone, whether it be a suspect on the street, somebody who is in custody. When we run them by name, we can find out if they have any warrants."
He said the system doesn't show someone's history with other departments in the state.
"If I were to search you, and you had contact with Peoria Police Department it might say what your role was, whether you were a victim or a suspect or a witness. It’s gonna tell us any history you had with the Peoria Police Department, so that’s where they were able to find information that you saw in the criminal complaint."
Fernandez is being charged with one count of unauthorized access of criminal history record information, a class six felony.
The Peoria Police Department said he was placed on administrative leave and then resigned from the department on Sept. 5.