HPOU honors Vice undercover officer Patterson for his work saving 4-year-old from sex predator

Tom Kennedy

The Union honored Vice Officer Justin Patterson as Investigator of the Month in the March general membership meeting.

Patterson, who works undercover, was surfing online adult websites used in prostitution investigations when he was able to make an appointment to allegedly have sex with a four-year-old girl for $1,000.

Vice Lt. Catherine Richards outlined what happened. “Last Nov. 12 an arrangement was made for Officer Patterson to meet with the suspect in the back of a large apartment complex where the suspect was staying.

“Officer Patterson was at a large disadvantage before meeting the suspect face to face since, through text messages, the suspect was able to convey that he knew when the officer arrived as well as the type of vehicle he was driving. Officer Patterson was in a very vulnerable situation since the suspect knew he had a lot of cash and could possibly be setting him up for a robbery.

“After a short time, the suspect exited an apartment and approached Officer Patterson immediately requesting the money as they both walked toward the apartment. The suspect was laughing and smiling as he made small talk with Officer Patterson about the future encounter he would have with a young girl stating that he also was planning to sexually assault the girl as well.”

When Patterson established the fact that the little girl was sleeping after having been drugged by the suspect, he gave the bust signal and the suspect was arrested.

Further investigation established that the suspect had traveled from Madison, Wisconsin to involve his own biological daughter in sexual activity. The four-year-old was living with her mother at this time. The suspect also was found to possess child pornography on his phone.

Due to the undisputable evidence gathered during this investigation, the suspect was charged with Compelling Prostitution and Trafficking of a Minor.

Lt. Richards said, “It should be noted that the ad the suspect posted was only up for two hours the day Officer Patterson was able to locate and respond to it. Thankfully, Officer Patterson was the first of four other appointments that the suspect had arranged with other sexual predators.

“At this point it has been determined that the child was not harmed in any way other than being given the over the counter adult sleep aids by the suspect.

This was a difficult investigation for Officer Patterson to complete since major issues arose on several occasions that threatened to derail the investigation and therefore prevent the rescue of the minor child.

“It is only because his perserverence and professional resolve, a true predator is incarcerated and is currently no longer a threat to other potential child victims.”