NORRISTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA – A retired police officer, still carrying his badge, was arrested Tuesday for allegedly trafficking methamphetamine in and around the Norristown area, and using his power to control prospective buyers, the district attorney announced Thursday.
Standing before a table littered with illegal narcotics, handguns, law enforcement IDs and cash, District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman explained how Jack Pennington, a former detective sergeant with the Norristown Police Department, allegedly spent time at local watering holes and other locations distributing drugs.
Ferman said Pennington used his past position of authority to protect himself.
“It suggests to the community, when they get away with it, that they are protected,” she said during a press conference Thursday morning.
“This man acted as if he was protected. He acted as if the rules did not apply to him – that the law did not apply to him – and he used this badge for cover. That affects both law enforcement and the community very negatively.”
Montgomery County Detectives investigated an anonymous tip made in March and located Pennington Tuesday at the Plymouth Meeting Mall around 4:30 p.m., where he was allegedly meeting his supplier. Members of the DA’s Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) followed him throughout the day and reportedly watched as he met with “customers” in the area of the mall, driving a silver Cadillac sedan, which had a law enforcement insignia in plain view.
Investigations reportedly saw Pennington reach both arms into another vehicle in the parking lot of the mall and make a delivery. Detectives then took Pennington into custody.
At the scene, police found a paper bag, which was later determined to contain three ounces of crystal methamphetamine and almost $7,000 in cash. Officers also found $9,470 in cash on Pennington’s person with a retired Norristown police badge and other credentials in his pockets.
“The advantage that it gives him is that people are afraid to report him, afraid to tell on him and afraid to take action,” said Ferman.
“And they believe – not accurately – that nothing will be done because he carries this badge. It’s a ruse.”