CHP Officer Accused of Transmitting Child Pornography

AUBURN -- For the past 26 years, 54-year-old Patrick Cooney has been a California Highway Patrol officer, most recently working in the traffic division.

But the veteran officer is now on the other side of the law.

Placer County sheriff's deputies arrested him at his Auburn home last night for allegedly transmitting child pornography, depicting sexual acts involving minors.

"There were two sheriff's car, and the regular cars, seven of them. And a lot of sheriffs, and police and people with their regular clothes were in and out. Three sheriffs took the two boys out. And I saw that guy was handcuffed," a next door neighbor said.

The two boys are reportedly Cooney's children.

Cooney has since bailed out. FOX40 tried to contact him at his home Tuesday morning, but no one answered the front door.

Investigators say it was the combined efforts of the Sac Valley Hi Tech Crimes task force, working with a detective from  Placer County, that pieced the case together over the past couple of weeks.

"Anytime something like this happens, we treat it seriously. And in this case, it happens to be a peace officer," sheriff's Lt. Troy Dander said.

Officers searched Cooney's home where they seized electronic devices.

The California Highway Patrol declined to talk about the case, but offered this statement from Chief Janice Mulanix, which reads:

"CHP is aware of the arrest of one of its officers by the Placer County Sheriff Department for alleged behavior that occurred while the employee was off duty. I want to assure the public that we take any allegation of misconduct by our employees, whether on or off duty, very seriously. The CHP is fully cooperating with the investigating agencies. In addition, chp is conducting its own investigation into the allegations."

Cooney will be arraigned at the Placer County Superior Court on Oct. 24.