Should a cop have lost his job over having sex in his vehicle — apparently not his first sexual liaison while on duty?

In a failed appeal to the New Jersey Civil Service Commission decision, Plainfield officer Fernando Sanchez argued he should have only been suspended — in part because he stopped once he got caught.

But officials say it was one of several trysts, and that he lied when interviewed by prosecutors— answering "I honestly don't think so" when asked if he'd had sex in a patrol car.

"The fact that he lied about it is a big deal," Judi Franco said on Monday's Dennis & Judi. "'Cause you want an honest cop. You don't want a cop who would never have sex in a patrol carl. That's unrealistic."

Is it?

A surprising number of callers seemed to agree. Lots of people said Sanchez should suffer some sort of punishment, but that a firing was too harsh — especially since he had a mostly clean record before his on-the-job liaisons were discovered.

(The administrative law judge hearing the case certainly didn't agree with Judi, writing: “Sanchez’s suggestion that the penalty should be mitigated because he ceased such behavior after his indiscretions became the subject of a criminal investigation is absurd.”)

Here are some of the people who told Judi on today's show, or New Jersey 101.5 via Twitter, that they don't think Sanchez should be out of a job:

Jeff in Hillsborough: "I have one name to say: Bill Clinton. I'm listening to this, and I'm saying nobody thought of Bill Clinton? ... He made a mistake. They both made a mistake. Clinton kept his job. He made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Don't take his career."

Tammy in Kingston said she first thought "how dare they" about the officer. But listening to Judi, she thought again: "They don't have an office to go to. They don't have their own bathroom to sit, to go to. Things like that. Also, yeah, maybe he was wrong for lying. But at the same time, they're very limited. I mean, even for any PA, for any public affection, with their wife or whomever (they don't have many options."

Bill on the Turnpike: "I got a different spin on this. Isn't this cop entitled to a break, and a lunch hour too? He could be going to a donut shop, or he could be in his car, right?" Bill also said he's been tempted to have sex in the truck he drives professionally — but he's resisted/

Another Bill, in Mount Laurel: "I think this guy should actually get a promotion for what he did. Think about it. He's not giving out speeding tickets for somebody going maybe 3 or 4 miles an hour (over the limit). There would be less people ... getting caught up in the court system. It actually would cause an increase in revenue for the state of New Jersey. I think he's actually doing a service. And I would like to lead the parade, if you would be my cohost."

Shannon in Burlington said some people in the private workforce would definitely be fired for the same thing. "It wasn't a good choice, I agree. Maybe some fines or suspensions. I guess we're holding people to a higher standard, maybe — I don't know."

For Michelle, the topic apparently hits home:

 

Jill: "I just want to say -- you know what, all in all, no matter how high of a pedestal people want to put them on, they're not God, they're not perfect, they're just human like the rest of us, and they make mistakes. He shouldn't lose his job over this. That's ridiculous."

People who said Sanchez should absolutely lose his job:

Kelly in Clinton: "I think there's a lot of reasons why he should have lost his job, but I just want to mention two. He was well aware of the fact that he was risking losing his job and he made the decision to do so. So that should be no surprise. But also ... he was on duty, if he had gotten a call, there could have been a robbery, a shooting, a terrorist attack. ... He would not have been available."

We're ... pretty sure Frank here is arguing for firing the cop:

Bill (a lot of Bills called in Monday): "I don't see this police officer doing anything any different, then any other public official, that actually has been caught in sexual contact, whether on the job or whether — inside a vehicle, in their office, or anything job-related — and has lost their job. If he needed sex that bad, he could have found a hotel, he could have found a motel, he could have went to the female's house or to his house."

Bill continued: "It's not just the fact of the officer being guilty. It's the fact of society being guilty itself for our morals becoming so low that we even question the fact of should somebody love their job over sexually behavior in this context.

 

As a former Morris county prosecutor (and frequent New Jersey 101.5 guest), Robert Bianchi has a unique perspective:

And a story we weren't expecting:

Judi also heard from an anonymous caller who said it's "not just women who throw themselves at men in uniform" — he'd done the same.

He described being out jogging, and meeting up with a K9 officer who was on duty, in uniform (and wearing a wedding ring). The caller said he "performed an act on him."

But then he started running into potential trouble:

"He took down my plate number. He ... I don't want to say stalked. But he showed up in places that I was at several times. I finally put my foot down. I said no, this can't continue," the anonymous caller said.

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