Raleigh law enforcement executive found guilty of illegally accessing records
Posted February 3, 2017 1:16 p.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2017 3:22 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — A Wake County jury found Joseph Michael Conover, a chief with the Nova Agency Company Police Department, guilty Friday of illegally accessing records on a government database in April 2016.
He was sentenced to 18 to 24 months in jail.
"This case demonstrates that abuses of authority will not be tolerated," said Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman. "Our citizens deserve to live peacefully in their home without fear of intimidation by individuals who might use their position to seek revenge."
In court on Thursday, Conover said the alleged crimes happened when he was walking his police dog by a neighbor's house when the neighbor's son ran out of the home yelling at him.
Raleigh police were called, but no charges were filed. Conover said he believed charges were warranted.
After police left, Conover searched government records on his laptop to try and determine who the man was.
"In order to try to identify him, I ran both of the vehicles that were plainly in view, thinking that one of them would probably come back to the person I was looking for," he said Thursday.
Prosecutors said Conover did a second unauthorized search of the database a few days later. It was also aimed at finding out more about the man with whom he had argued.
In addition to these charges, Conover is also accused of overstepping his authority when making four arrests in 2015. Conover is expected to be tried on the other charges he is facing in May.