Local news

Spokane police officer suspended for ties to woman

A Spokane police officer has been suspended for two months without pay after the department determined he had been associating with a woman engaging in prostitution, drugs and burglary.

Police Chief Frank Straub issued a “last-chance agreement” to Officer Darrell Quarles, according to a news release Monday.

“It is my obligation to hold all employees, police officers and civilians to the highest ethical and professional standards” Straub said. “Unethical and unprofessional conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

An internal investigation launched May 7 determined that Quarles had associated with a woman who used methamphetamine and was involved in prostitution and burglary, and that he knew of her criminal activities.

Quarles also violated department policy by conducting an unauthorized search of internal records to check on the status of a criminal investigation into the woman, the news release said. Police didn’t release the woman’s name.

Quarles has been on paid administrative leave since the internal investigation began.

In addition to the 60-day suspension without pay or benefits, Quarles – who made $82,519 in pay and overtime last year – will not be allowed to work without direct supervision and must participate in specific community service assignments, the release said.

Spokane Police Guild President John Gately said the union was involved in the Quarles investigation from the beginning and he doesn’t expect a grievance to be filed. “We agree with the chief’s position,” Gately said.

Police spokeswoman Monique Cotton said Quarles was hired in June 2008. He received a life-saving award in 2010 for pulling a shooting victim to safety and performing CPR.

Cotton said she did not have access to records that would show whether Quarles had a disciplinary record.

Quarles waived his right to appeal the suspension to an arbitrator when he signed the last-chance agreement, Cotton said. That agreement calls for his firing if he is involved in another instance of serious misconduct.

The investigation of Quarles resulted in the dismissal of a felony gun possession charge against 41-year-old Jerry W. Clark, a man with reputed ties to the Hells Angels biker gang. Quarles was one of two arresting officers in that case, and a judge ordered the city to divulge the nature of the internal investigation following a request by Clark’s attorney. A Spokane County deputy prosecutor asked for dismissal of the charges instead.



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