Portland police captain Derrick Foxworth used his city-owned cell phone to call a pager number in 1996. He dialed the number 12 times that day and 370 times over four months, reports The Oregonian. When the city released Foxworth’s phone records Foxworth wrote in the margin that each of those calls on his police-issued phones had been made to a “citizen informant.” The Oregonian has learned the pager number belongs to a woman who is now Foxworth’s second wife. Foxworth, who is now police chief, now says he followed the advice of the city attorney when he identified the pager as belonging to a citizen informant. Foxworth said that if a person had once provided information in a criminal matter, he was justified in classifying the person as an informant for every call and withholding that number. Foxworth declined to say in what matter the woman was an informant. Foxworth reimbursed the city for personal calls.
Tom Carpenter of the national Government Accountability Project, a private, nonprofit public interest group that watchdogs government activities, said an officer’s use of the cell phone to call a woman while on duty is not a serious breach. But a former union president, Officer Tom Mack, said Foxworth’s explanation could undermine his ability to lead. “If someone provides me police information once out of 340 times, I find that deceptive to label that person as a police informant,” said Mack, a veteran officer. “Why did he pay for those calls if they were an informant?”