Valerie McFarlane’s job as an Aspen, Co., police officer has ended after she failed to file charges against an Aspen newspaper editor for allegedly drinking and driving, the Aspen Times reports. Instead, McFarlane, who was on work-related probation, gave Aspen Daily News Editor Troy Hooper a ride to a residence. Hooper, who covers cops and courts for the Daily News, had written two articles related to McFarlane’s September suspension.
On the day of the recent incident, Hooper and McFarlane discussed in the squad car his coverage of the police department, including his reporting on McFarlane, and implied he was willing to give her more favorable treatment in the newspaper. Aspen Police Chief Richard Pryor said there was an apparent conflict of interest at the time McFarlane encountered Hooper, because the editor had written stories about her personnel problems at the police department. “I think, given the past experience of both individuals, I would have expected or would have thought that a more logical response would have been for [McFarlane] to call for assistance or back-up, someone else who would have been less involved in the situation to come and either help guide or take over the situation and remove a possible conflict.”