On April 4, 2022, Gloucester County Superior Court Judge Samuel J. Ragonese upheld Paulsboro Borough’s firing of a police officer who had on-duty sex with a female subordinate officer who was assigned to him for training five to ten times from August 2020 to November or December 2020.
According to a Memorandum of Decision appended to Judge Ragonese’s order, Officer Elijah Camacho, who was hired by Paulsboro in 2018, had “sex on multiple occasions with [a Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class 1 (SLEO-I)] both within Paulsboro and outside of Paulsboro” including in Gibbstown (Greenwich Township).
One incident described in the Memorandum occurred on December 19, 2020. Camacho testified that he was working with the SLEO-I but dropped her off early after an argument. The SLEO-I was reportedly upset because Camacho was dropping her off so that he could meet his girlfriend, an off-duty Camden Metro Police Officer, at Paulsboro’s Loudensclager Elementary School. Camacho testified that he previously had sex at the school with the SLEO-I “who considered it a ‘special place’ for her and Camacho.”
Paulsboro fired Camacho on August 10, 2021. Camacho, who filed a lawsuit challenging his firing on August 23, 2021, said while he did “not deny that he engaged in inappropriate conduct while on duty,” he felt that his conduct did not warrant termination. He also argued that the disciplinary proceedings “were prejudicial, arbitrary and capricious.” While admitting that he had sex on duty, Camacho called that an “error in judgment.” He claimed that since his hiring, he “gained the respect of the Department” and received above average reviews. He also claimed that even though he might have been in the middle of sex with the SLEO-I, he was still able to handle an emergency call.
Judge Ragonese’s Memorandum also disclosed some of Camacho’s prior disciplinary infractions, including having his gun taken as a result of a domestic violence charge, arriving 40 minutes late for a shift, watching social media instead of doing his assigned work as well as an odd reference to “using a massage tool.” There were so many violations, Camacho had “triggered the ‘early warning system’ within the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s office.”
Prior to working for Paulsboro, Camacho worked as an officer for the Camden Metro Police Department. According to the Memorandum, when Camacho left Camden Metro, he had 10 to 13 infractions there.
The SLEO-I “resigned her position within the week of the incident becoming known,” according to Memorandum.