Florida sheriff’s sergeant accused of disclosing case info

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Tamara Hardin, 43, faces 2 charges

Sgt. Tamara Hardin was an Officer of the Month in 2016 for the arrest of an armed and dangerous suspect (Photo from JSO Twitter feed)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida sheriff’s sergeant is accused of using confidential law enforcement databases to provide information about a criminal investigation to a family acquaintance in Georgia, authorities said.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Sgt. Tamara Hardin, 43, was charged Tuesday with one count of disclosure of confidential criminal justice information and one count of offense against computer users, news outlets reported.

Undersheriff Patrick Ivey said Hardin has been placed on administrative leave until she is fired. He said the 17-year veteran declined to resign, but the agency will move to terminate Hardin's employment because she is facing felony charges.

“She does have the right to civil services processes,” Ivey said. “But I think we are up to the challenge that she doesn’t need to be working for this agency.”

According to Ivey, an agency in Georgia contacted the sheriff's office on March 29 about a person of interest in a case they were investigating. They said the person had been in contact with Hardin. Her arrest report said she had been involved in the Georgia case from April through November last year.

Ivey said Hardin was being asked to run a person's name through a database to see if they were wanted by law enforcement.

“Sgt. Hardin was using her access to law enforcement databases, which are confidential, and releasing that information to that subject,” Ivey said. "You can pass information on, but it has to be justified in how you use that information. Officers are always trained on it. They know.”

Ivey didn't identify the agency in Georgia.

It's unclear whether Hardin has an attorney.

Hardin is the second member of the sheriff’s office to be arrested in less than a week. On Thursday, Ivey said Officer Alexander G. Grant, a five-year veteran, was charged with battery after striking a handcuffed man who spit on an officer.