May 26, 2012 in City

Ex-cop admits ‘bad mistake’

Edwards fired after tracking down woman from bar
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Edwards
(Full-size photo)

A Spokane police officer fired for lying to a co-worker to obtain the address of a woman he met at a bar told investigators he was going through personal problems and was concerned for the woman’s safety because he’d seen her interacting with a known felon.

Alan Edwards, who was fired in March, said he thought the woman showed interest in him as he left the Sullivan Scoreboard on Dec. 15 to give a friend a ride home. He returned to the bar about midnight and saw the woman talking to another man, whom he described “as a felon kind of bad guy.”

He ended up at her home between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m., and she reported him to police.

Edwards, who is married, said in an interview with a Spokane police internal affairs investigator that he was “embarrassed” when he called the officer.

“I didn’t want to tell (the officer) what was going on, uh, with personal stuff,” Edwards said, according to an interview transcript.

He said he’d never done anything similar before. “I’m embarrassed by it. I take pride in doing things off duty. I mean doing the correct things off duty. This was a bad mistake on my part,” he said, adding that he “absolutely” believed it was an inappropriate use of police services.

That transcript and other documents detailing the internal investigation that led to Edwards’ dismissal were recently released in response to a request from The Spokesman-Review under the state’s public records act.

The release of the internal investigation into Edwards comes at the same time officials say Edwards still could face criminal charges for his use of an unlicensed bounty hunter to illegally enter homes.

Edwards was suspended for two weeks last year for arranging a ruse with unlicensed bounty hunter Dennis J. Kariores that involved using a fugitive to help them gain access to a home they were otherwise not legally authorized to enter.

City officials said in recent emails that the Sheriff’s Office has reopened the investigation, prompting them to halt the fulfillment of records requests regarding the inquiry, but Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said the case never was closed. He said Detective Lyle Johnston continues to follow up on the case and declined to comment on the details of the investigation because it is ongoing.

Kariores recently left the Spokane County Jail on $20,000 bond as he awaits trial on burglary, kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment charges for allegedly detaining fugitives.

Interim Spokane police Chief Scott Stephens declined to comment on the investigation through spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe, saying the case is in the hands of the Sheriff’s Office.

Edwards’ lawyer, Chris Bugbee, said he doesn’t know the nature of the investigation but called it the most secretive he’s ever seen. Edwards could not be reached for comment.

According to the transcript of his interview with internal affairs investigators, which was witnessed by Ombudsman Tim Burns, Spokane Police Guild Vice President Tim Moses and Sgt. Dave McCabe, Edwards said he had a “personal event” occur earlier that day that he didn’t want to detail. He later said he was experiencing serious problems at home.

He said he was a “little emotional” when he got home from the bar and wanted to talk to the woman. He said he’d consumed “four or five vodka cranberries” while at the Sullivan Scoreboard with friends but it was over a period of several hours and he did not feel drunk.

The woman told investigators she was at the bar with friends when they began talking to Edwards and his friends, who were sitting at the table next to them.

She said Edwards seemed interested in her but she was not interested in him and instead left the bar with another man and talked to him for about 30 minutes in the parking lot before going home.

The woman said she awoke to pounding on her door between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Dec. 16. She said she didn’t answer her door initially because she hoped the person would go away, but the pounding continued. She opened the door to find Edwards. She said he didn’t respond when he asked her how he found her. She said he asked for a hug, which she refused before telling him he needed to leave and closed the door. Edwards told McCabe he may have shaken the woman’s hand but said the interaction was brief and consisted of him telling her he was “just kind of checking” and that “that guy was kind of being a jerk.”

She reported the incident to Crime Check and told police she felt he either followed her home or inappropriately used law enforcement technology to obtain her address.

Edwards eventually obtained the woman’s contact information from a female officer whose name is redacted in the documents. Edwards told the officer the woman had stolen a friend’s credit card at a bar and that he was investigating.

The officer was cleared of wrongdoing and told investigators she didn’t know Edwards was off duty until after she gave him the woman’s address.

The officer said she wouldn’t have given Edwards the information “if she knew the real reason he wanted it,” according to a report.

Edwards told investigators he owed the officer an apology.

“This is not her deal, OK,” he said. “I take full responsibility for it.”


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