A South Palm Beach police officer who allegedly had an affair with the wife of a town resident is charged with placing an electronic tracker on the woman's car, according to police reports.
Jose Miguel Fernandez, 50, resigned the 8-member department on Aug. 30, two days after he was booked at the Palm Beach County Jail, charged with stalking and installing a tracking device, both misdemeanors. He left jail two hours later after posting $500 bond. His street address and home town are blacked out in the reports.
Fernandez, reached Thursday, referred a reporter to attorney Steven Cohen. Cohen declined to comment except to say, "My client's not guilty of the charges and we look forward to presenting that to a court."
The Palm Beach Post is not naming the woman.
According to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office report, the woman's husband went to South Palm Beach police to say he'd found the GPS device on his wife's vehicle. The husband said he'd discovered his wife had become involved with Fernandez and said it ended July 16 when he confronted her at Fernandez' residence.
The wife said Fernandez later surprised her on July 25 at a Boca Raton bakery, again on July 29 at a Manalapan supermarket, and also on Aug. 2 as she jogged down Ocean Boulevard in South Palm Beach.
After the first two encounters in late July, the husband said, he became suspicious, then searched his wife's car on July 30 and found the device.
After the husband turned in the GPS the next day to South Palm Beach police, the report said, the agency asked PBSO to take over the investigation.
The wife later told a PBSO deputy the affair had lasted about a year. She said she did not fear Fernandez would harm her but said she was "paranoid" and "constantly looking over her shoulder."
The report said Fernandez admitted to PBSO investigators he'd placed the device on the car a few days before the husband had found it July 30. He said he wanted to keep track of the husband after the man hurled epithets at him. Fernandez quoted the man as saying to him, "I hope your son dies."
Fernandez also insisted he’d had other reasons to be at the three places where he encountered the woman.
South Palm Beach Police Chief Mark Garrison confirmed Thursday Fernandez resigned but said he could not comment further because of the active investigation. The town did issue a release Thursday quoting Garrison as saying, "The South Palm Beach Police Department holds its employees to a high standard and this is a complete breach of trust to the residents."
The town voted June 18 to turn over police service to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Garrison said Fernandez was hired in November 2016 and had been assigned to road patrol.
According to Fernandez' post on the LinkedIn page, he previously had worked for Manalapan police from 2013 to 2016. He’d been a private security supervisor at New York's JFK airport, and before that a New York police officer for 21 years.