KENSINGTON, Calif. – A Northern California town plans to request an independent investigation into how its police chief handled the probe of a sergeant who allegedly had his gun stolen by a prostitute at a Nevada hotel room, a newspaper reported.
Kensington police Sgt. Keith Barrow was asleep when his gun was stolen last May, the Oakland Tribune has reported (http://bit.ly/1vnYzJf), citing court records and interviews. The weapon was recovered the next day when the prostitute's pimp shot himself in the leg with it during an altercation at a pawnshop.
Barrow was not placed on administrative leave when the department found out about the incident or while it spent eight months investigating it as is routine in such cases, the Tribune reported. Barrow's attorney, Justin Buffington, has said recently his client will serve a suspension.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Kensington town board said "the due process requirements could have proceeded in a more timely manner."
"People have this impression that something wasn't done right, and we're admitting in the statement that things could have proceeded at a more rapid pace," Board President Len Welsh told the Tribune (http://bayareane.ws/19aKme6) in a story posted Wednesday. "We're going to have to cop to what happened, but I have to ask for some patience. You don't rush to judgment."
The board plans to discuss how Police Chief Greg Harman handled the matter in closed session at a meeting on Thursday night. Messages for Harman and Barrow were not immediately returned.
Kensington is a small, upscale community bordering Berkeley in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A police report taken the night the gun was stolen says $70 was exchanged for sex, Reno police spokesman Tim Broadway told the Tribune. Prostitution is legal in Nevada, but only in licensed brothels.
Barrow was not cited in the case, though Broadway and the Washoe County, Nevada district attorney at the time would not explain the decision, the Tribune reported. Buffington has said his client may have been drugged.
In its statement on Wednesday, the town board said Harman had determined that having Barrow continue to work during the investigation did not pose a risk to the community.
But some town residents disagree.
"There is an enormous risk with having someone with such poor judgment as a police officer," said Sylvia Elsbury, 51, a mother of three.
Information from: The Oakland Tribune, http://www.oaklandtribune.com