For more than three years, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske knew that a patrol officer responsible for enforcing drug and liquor laws was suspected of using cocaine. The Seattle Times reports that Kerlikowske didn’t take the officer, John Powers, off the street even after the FBI presented evidence that Powers had used drugs, including snorting cocaine while parked in his patrol car. Kerlikowski explained he didn’t put Powers on leave or desk duty because he didn’t want to jeopardize the FBI investigation.
Charles Mandigo, the retired FBI official who oversaw the case, says the FBI didn’t ask the department to delay any action against Powers. In fact, Mandigo said, such a request would have been against FBI policy – and common sense. Powers, 44, an eight-year veteran, was never charged with a crime but was fired last month after the department concluded he had used drugs and violated other rules. Kerlikowske declined to be interviewed but said he would remove from duty any officer who showed signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer said that if Powers had been placed on desk duty during the FBI investigation, it would have hindered the bureau’s effort to catch him committing criminal acts.