March 1, 2012 in City

Spokane police Officer Alan Edwards fired after woman’s 911 call

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Alan Edwards had recently returned to work after an unrelated two-week suspension.
(Full-size photo)

A senior Spokane police officer has been fired for misusing city equipment to obtain the home address of a woman he met at a bar.

Alan D. Edwards, 47, had recently returned to the police force from an unrelated suspension when the new complaint was lodged, this time after a woman called 911 in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 16 reporting someone at her door.

It turned out to be Edwards, whom she’d met several hours earlier while at the Sullivan Scoreboard Tavern in Spokane Valley.

Edwards, who was off duty, contacted an on-duty officer and said he was investigating a theft and needed the woman’s address. He told the officer, whose name has not been released, he was at a bar when the woman stole his friend’s credit card. But police say Edwards was not investigating a crime – he simply wanted information about the woman for personal purposes.

“At no time did you advise the Officer that this information was for your own use and not for a legitimate law enforcement purpose,” according to a termination letter sent Wednesday to Edwards by Interim Chief Scott Stephens. “After you obtained the information, you went to the woman’s home at 3:00 a.m. on December 16, 2011, to make contact with her.”

Edwards, a 21-year veteran who is married, is fired effective today.

“We … must hold our officers to a higher standard than the behavior exhibited,” Stephens said in a prepared statement. “It is our priority to show citizens of Spokane that this behavior will not be tolerated.”

Stephens told The Spokesman-Review that Edwards was “a hard-working cop.”

“I wouldn’t want the 20-plus years that he provided here to be ignored,” Stephens said. “He did some really good work. … It’s just unfortunate that it came to this.”

Edwards didn’t work for 10 months last year but continued to earn his $76,886 annual salary during a criminal probe into his interactions with bail bondsmen and an unlicensed bounty hunter.

Edwards was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing but was found to have violated departmental policy by engineering an improper “ruse” to gain otherwise illegal entry to a Spokane home in 2009 while searching for stolen property.

He was suspended without pay for two weeks.

Former City Administrator Ted Danek said in a letter of reprimand to Edwards last year that it is “a widely acknowledged fact that you are an exceptionally active officer.”

Stephens said he considered community values, the current complaint against Edwards as well as his employment history when deciding to fire him.

Stephens met last week with Edwards and a Spokane Police Guild representative to discuss the Dec. 15 allegation.

The woman said Edwards immediately left when she asked him to leave, Stephens said. She called 911 to complain about the incident and said the man was an officer. Edwards was gone by the time police arrived, Stephens said.

Julie Fisher told The Spokesman-Review she was working as a waitress at Sullivan Scoreboard the night Edwards came in. She described his actions as “crazy.”

Fisher said in several posts to Facebook that Edwards made advances on almost every woman in the business. She said she found him in the women’s bathroom harassing “a woman trying to use the toilet” at closing time.

Fisher said she screamed at Edwards “to get the hell out.”

Edwards’ lawyer, Chris Bugbee, said he was not involved in this case but is sad that Edwards lost his job.

“I like Alan,” Bugbee said. “He was one of the hardest-working cops in that department.”

Staff writer Thomas Clouse contributed to this report.


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