LIVINGSTON, La. (BRPROUD) – A former Denham Springs Police officer pleaded guilty to carnal knowledge of a juvenile and malfeasance in office on Monday, Jan. 30.

According to the 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux, former Denham Springs police officer Joseph Reid Copeland, 30, was accused of engaging in sex with a juvenile on Aug. 19, 2022.

According to a news release from the district attorney’s office, a mandated reporter heard about the incident and told the police department, then provided a recording of themselves talking to the victim.

The victim was interviewed on Aug. 26 and explained to the sheriff’s office how they had met Copeland about 18 months earlier. The victim reportedly said they met Copeland in a parking lot and had sex with him in his fully marked police car. The two reportedly also communicated through social media, as the victim was attempting to get help with a ticket.

Through the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office investigation, search warrants and evidence were secured that granted an arrest warrant for Copeland.

The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office was able to use the evidence to locate Copeland, who was found in Irving, Texas. On Sept. 7, Copeland was taken back to Louisiana and taken into the Livingston Parish Detention Center. When taken into custody, Copeland had a fake U.S. deputy marshal badge, a handgun, bullets and a knife.

Copeland was sentenced to five years with the Department of Corrections on the charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile, and that sentence was suspended. He must serve 3 years of probation and register as a sex offender for 15 years. He also was sentenced to 10 years on the charge of malfeasance in office, which was also suspended with the requirement to serve 3 years of probation. His sentences will be served at the same time.