By Henry K. Lee 2/9/15
A Kensington police sergeant was suspended after his gun was stolen last year by an alleged prostitute in a Reno hotel room, police said Monday.
Sgt. Keith Barrow, 47, had “other substantial sanctions imposed upon him by the department,” said his attorney Justin Buffington, who did not elaborate. “He is paying the price commensurate with the facts of the case, based upon a thorough personnel investigation.”
The probe began May 23, 2014, when an off-duty Barrow, while apparently asleep in a room at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, had his badge, handcuffs, .40-caliber service pistol and two magazines of ammunition stolen by a prostitute who had been paid $70 for sex, said Officer Tim Broadway, a spokesman for the Reno Police Department.
Prostitution is illegal in Washoe County, where Reno is located, but Barrow, who told officers he had been drinking, wasn’t cited because there were conflicting accounts about what had happened, police said. “It’s a he-said, she-said” situation, Broadway said.
But Barrow’s gun ended up in the hands of the prostitute’s pimp, a drug user who accidentally shot himself in the leg with the weapon during an argument the next morning at a local pawnshop, Broadway said.
Buffington said his investigation “has led me to conclude that the suspect drugged Sgt. Barrow’s drink in order to take advantage of and victimize him. The suspect in this case is not a savory character and has a lengthy criminal history.”
After the incident in Reno, Kensington Police Chief Greg Harman opened an internal investigation of Barrow.
Barrow remained on duty and frequently attended monthly meetings of theKensington Police Protection and Community Services District to provide updates about police investigations, city records show. Harman doubles as the district’s general manager on top of serving as police chief in Kensington, a wealthy enclave of 5,000 people where violence is rare.
For months, records showed that Harman was investigating an allegation “that an officer engaged in conduct unbecoming an officer while off-duty.” But the agenda for the upcoming Thursday meeting included an additional note: “This investigation has been sustained by Chief Harman and disciplinary action implemented.”
Barrow is head of the Kensington police union. In 2012, Barrow wrote a letter supporting Harman’s contract renewal.
“Based on many years of working with Chief Gregory Harman, we feel his level of competency and commitment to this department, community and profession, coupled with his extraordinary professionalism and knowledge of the law enforcement profession makes him an outstanding candidate for remaining in the position of chief of police,” said the letter published in the Kensington Outlook.
Michael Rains, an attorney who has represented Harman in previous matters, said the chief is a “bright and ethical man.” Rains added, “I am confident this matter will be handled appropriately and in accord with existing legal precedents in this type of case.”