WRAL Investigates

Raleigh police officers at center of sexual misconduct probe

Posted February 8, 2011 5:01 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2011 6:58 p.m. EST

— Several Raleigh police officers are part of an ongoing police department internal investigation after allegations of sexual contact with a prostitute, sources told WRAL News Tuesday.

Speaking on the condition that they not be identified, the sources said the Raleigh Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit raided the Southeast District Substation on Crosslink Road over the weekend and that several officers there were told to turn in their guns, badges and patrol cars.

Internal affairs investigators used GPS tracking devices and hidden cameras to uncover the activity, which involved sex with a prostitute who frequents Bragg Street in downtown Raleigh, the sources said.

One of the names tied to the investigation, sources said, is Raleigh police Sgt. Rick Armstrong, who is the president of the Raleigh Police Protective Association, a professional association that represents the interests of police officers.

Armstrong, who also is a member of the state Law Enforcement Training and Standards Commission, said Tuesday that he could not speak about the matter, on the advice of the Raleigh Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Police Chief Harry Dolan did not address the specific allegations but acknowledged a “comprehensive” internal investigation into “improper conduct” stemming from a police officer’s complaint in late 2009.

“Those findings indicated that administrative violations may have occurred and that they stemmed from voluntary interactions between a small number of officers and non-departmental individuals,” Dolan said.

“At this time, we are nearing completion of the investigation and its necessary follow-up,” he continued. “When all the available facts are present, appropriate decisions will be made concerning any personnel action that should be taken pursuant to departmental policy in response to administrative violations.”

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said his office is aware of the investigation and that criminal charges did not seem likely. He declined to say why or to discuss the matter further.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker and Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen, when reached Tuesday, declined to comment on the matter.

Mayor Pro-Tem Mary-Ann Baldwin, who chairs the city’s Law and Public Safety Committee, said such incidents “reflect poorly” on the police department but that police officers generally do an excellent job.

“Anytime you have something like this you want a quick resolution and I would imagine our residents who would be impacted by this expect that,” she said.