A San Jose man accused of pretending to be a patrol officer in the North County was sentenced to a year in County Jail on Tuesday for a no-contest plea to three crimes.
Mark Ryan Polini, 28, was sentenced in San Luis Obispo Superior Court after entering his plea in May to felony possession of child pornography, felony grand theft of a firearm and misdemeanor impersonation of a police officer.
A no-contest plea results in a conviction without an admission of guilt.
Polini was arrested in Atascadero in July 2010 after police found him in a black 2001 Ford Crown Victoria, a vehicle commonly used by law enforcement agencies.
That car was equipped with features such as spotlights attached to its sides, a mounted dashboard camera and four antennas, according to a San Luis Obispo County Probation Department report.
The vehicle also displayed a “D.A.R.E. to Resist Drugs and Violence” license plate frame, which are also common on law enforcement vehicles.
“Additionally, the driver was dressed in all black including a black hat with a CHP patch, and he was observed talking on a handheld microphone similar to current police radios,” the report states.
Polini told police his vehicle belonged to a security company in San Jose, and he was headed to Paso Robles to work.
Investigators said they found a .25-caliber handgun in his vehicle, which was taken from his fiancee’s father. They also discovered more than 1,000 images of child pornography on his computer’s hard drive, according to a probation report.
Polini denied some of the allegations in an interview with probation officers, including that he took the gun and that he was impersonating a cop, the report states. He said he accepted the plea deal “because I was trying to take the least (jail) time.”
Polini also told probation officers that he’s going to get his life back on track after serving his jail sentence. He plans to study architecture. Polini had no prior criminal record.
He didn’t make a statement Tuesday prior to Judge Michael Duffy’s sentencing, which included three years formal probation.
Probation officers called the circumstances of the case “disturbing,” writing that he accessed child porn images as recently as 12 days prior to his arrest.
“It is hoped this experience will have an impact upon the defendant and he will no longer involve himself in this type of criminal behavior,” the report states.
Polini’s attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, said he’s doing “serious time for serious crimes.”
“I respect the sentence, and I respect my client,” Funke-Bilu said. “I don’t think we’ll see Mr. Polini in criminal court again.”