EVIDENCE: Former Robbinsdale police chief paid $150 for sex - KMSP-TV

EVIDENCE: Former Robbinsdale police chief paid $150 for sex

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Steven Smith Steven Smith
Cash evidence Cash evidence
COON RAPIDS, Minn. (KMSP) -

New details about the arrest of the former Robbinsdale police chief are emerging now that the Coon Rapids police department is sharing some of the evidence from the prostitution sting that netted 11 arrests.

Steven Smith abruptly resigned his post on Saturday, calling City Manager Marcia Glick and turning in his patrol car just days before he was due in court to face misdemeanor prostitution charges. On Monday, the Coon Rapids Police Department offered more details on how his Feb. 20 arrest was made.

Inside an evidence bag, investigators revealed the $150 in cash that Smith allegedly paid for sex more than one month ago. Additionally, detectives say Smith offered an additional $50 to not use a condom.

Audio files, money and photographs are all part of the bundle of evidence investigators gathered against Smith and the other johns arrested in the sting.

Smith was arrested at an undisclosed apartment building after responding to a personal ad on Backpage.com and sending a string of lewd text messages under the alias "Scott" that made it quite clear what he was after.

Officers placed Smith in handcuffs before he was taken to the Anoka County Jail to be fingerprinted and photographed. He was released with a misdemeanor citation for general prostitution crimes.

The sudden resignation on Saturday shattered the quiet that had lingered since Smith's release -- and it came as a surprise to Robbinsdale city leaders, who only learned of the arrest this weekend. Mayor Regan Murphy admitted the news came as a complete shock.

MORE: Robbinsdale police chief resigns after prostitution arrest

Capt. Jim Franzen has been named the interim chief of police, and he told Fox 9 News he knows the arrest has shaken the public's trust in the department.

"We do have a cloud over our heads," Franzen said.

Many residents have openly questioned how Smith was able to keep the arrest a secret for so long. The Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Board told Fox 9 News Smith has 90 days to report the offense to the agency, which is a standard licensing requirement.

POST Board reporting requirements

[Click to expand]

If convicted, Smith would be in clear violation of the standard of conduct.

"I was shocked," Neil Melton, executive director of the POST Board told Fox 9 News. "In the 15 years I've been doing this, I've never heard of this coming from a peace officer."

If he is found guilty, Smith could receive a letter of reprimand or have his license revoked in addition to the criminal consequences.

It appears Coon Rapids police did not know of Smith's law enforcement position at the time of his arrest. In fact, an afternoon press release specifically stated that none of the officers involved in the sting recognized him -- and Smith did not identify himself as an officer at any time.

March 19 marked the first time a city staffer connected dots -- three days before the news broke. An employee of the Coon Rapids Police Department was preparing case documents at the request of Smith's attorney and recognized his photograph.

Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise also used the press release as an avenue for explaining that officers are not in the habit of contacting suspects' employers, especially since the law presumes innocence until a court determines otherwise. 

"The City of Robbinsdale may have a policy requiring their officers to self-report if they've been arrested," Wise wrote. "Our police department has a policy like this."

Officials with the city of Robbinsdale have not specifically stated whether Smith violated department policies, but Wise said Smith did not ask for special treatment and did not receive any.

"Backpage.com and similar websites are viewed by some as a safe place to initiate the sexual exploitation of women. The Coon Rapids Police Department will continue in its efforts to convince people otherwise," Wise vowed. "Anyone answering a Backpage or similar ad that says to meet in Coon Rapids, don't' do it. You will be arrested no matter who you are."

Smith was scheduled to be in court on Monday, but his attorney filed a continuance. He is expected to return to court in May. His attorney did not return repeated calls for comment.

Fox 9 News reporters Iris Perez and Bill Keller are sharing developing details on Twitter. Follow both of them for the latest information and tune in to Fox 9 News @ 5 for the full story.

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