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King County, WA
A former King County Sheriff's narcotics detective has been arrested in Arkansas after he was accused of stealing illegal drugs that were intended for use as a training aid for his police dog, authorities say.
The detective, Kristopher Kizer, 29, is charged with theft and felony possession of narcotics, a source in the King County Prosecutor's Office confirmed.
U.S. Marshals arrested Kizer at a courthouse in Star City, Arkansas, where he'd gone to apply for a job with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, King County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Steve Strachan said.
"I'm not sure if that's the definition of irony or not," Strachan said. "But you just shake your head at this stuff."
Two detectives were assigned immediately after the Sheriff's Office became aware of misconduct. They have been sent to Arkansas. "We take our public trust very seriously, and we are aggressive about holding accountable anyone who violates that public trust," Strachan said.
Kizer was a K-9 handler assigned to the Bellevue office of the Eastside Narcotics Task Force. The investigation began this month after Kizer's resignation in February. Kizer stopped coming to work in October 2010 and exhausted all his sick time and vacation pay a few months later. After he resigned, detectives discovered that samples of cocaine and methamphetamine that had been seized and supplied to Kizer as training aids for his dog were never returned, court documents say.
He also never logged marijuana seized during a traffic stop, court documents say.
Court documents say Kizer was accused in October 2009 of slipping "something" into the drinks of two women he met at a bar in Medford, Ore. Both women worked a hotel where Kizer was staying while attending a conference for narcotics investigators. Medford police investigated and determined that no crime was committed, but wrote a case report and notified the King County Sheriff's Office.
Sheriff's detective completed a thorough investigation and found no evidence to to support the allegations. He received a letter of reprimand for conduct unbecoming after he was , Strachan said.
"But he was at a training conference and to even be around people who would make these allegations is unprofessional," Strachan said. "He was certainly acting unprofessionally and we certainly established that."
During his last few months on the job, fellow officers noticed that he'd been acting "moody" and seemed to be off on his own. He'd also told fellow officers his father was slain in a domestic violence incident in North Carolina, court documents say.
"This is still an open and ongoing investigation. We still have a lot of questions that have to be answered in terms of where that property is located," Strachan said. "We don't know the reason the narcotics are gone. We don't know whether it was for personal use or for sale."
In the spring of 2010, Kizer requested new samples of illegal drugs to use as a training aid for his dogs, including Ecstasy, cocaine, meth and marijuana. He said his current samples were "getting old" and received $20,000 worth of illegal narcotics from the Sheriff's Office, according to court documents.
He was ordered to log the evidence in a case report and previously was instructed to store evidence in an evidence safe and not to take it home, court documents say.
After he stopped coming to work, detectives and human resources employees had trouble reaching Kizer. In December, after meeting with his sergeant about his poor work performance, Kizer said he would transfer back to patrol.
In January, however, he told his sergeant he didn't want to be a cop anymore and planned to resign. At one point, task force detectives arranged to meet him at his home to pick up a dog kennel and other police equipment. Kizer stated that he was still "having problems dealing with the death of his dad, a shooting he was involved with while on Patrol and things that happened when he was in the military," court documents say.
In March, while Kizer and his wife were going through a divorce, Kizer's father-in-law called police after finding a blue Igloo cooler in the couple's garage that contained marijuana and metal "First Aid" containers labeled "coke" and "meth." Detectives recognized the white metal containers as the type used by Bellevue police to store drug evidence. Inside were empty baggies that tested positive for drug residue, court documents say.
Kizer's wife told police that he had started acting crazy and spending hours in his garage. He'd been moving stuff into the garage and at one time spent almost 48 hours disassembling computers, court documents say.
The Sheriff's Office is reviewing its policies on evidence storage and whether any red flags were missed, Strachan said. Officers had noticed a change in Kizer's behavior and were watching him closely while trying to support him through his father's death, he said.
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