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Sergeant who exposed undercover officer's dept. approved sex act with prostitute sues to get job back

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Former Fort Smith Police Department Sgt. Don Paul Bales of Arkansas has filed a lawsuit to get his job back after he exposed an undercover officer’s sex acts with a prostitute.

As reported by KFSM, on Monday a lawsuit was filed in Sebastian County Circuit Court which explained the events of April of 2014 when Bales received a picture of an affidavit that showed misconduct perpetrated by an undercover officer with the Street Crimes Unit.

Don Paul Bales.  Image credit: myspace
Don Paul Bales. Image credit: myspace

Bales turned over the photo of the affidavit to his lawyer and reported the conduct of his fellow officer to his superiors. Although Bales asserted his communication with his lawyer was protected by attorney-client privilege, Fort Smith Police Department Chief Kevin Lindsey determined Bales violated department policy by showing his lawyer the name of the undercover officer on the affidavit. A copy of the affidavit was later published on the lawyer’s blog with the undercover officer’s identity redacted.

According to the affidavit, the undercover officer — who was identified simply as “J.B.” — used Backpage.com to meet a suspected prostitute. The two agreed to a rate of $150 an hour for her services and arranged to meet at the Season’s Inn motel in Fort Smith. It also states the officer took off his clothes and allowed the woman to perform sex acts on him.

Afterwards, the officer arrested the woman on suspicion of misdemeanor prostitution stating he felt it was necessary to undress himself and engage in sex acts “because he believed that such action was necessary to gather the proof needed to convict the person for violating the prostitution statute.”

Bales was fired for violating eight rules, including giving false testimony, revealing confidential information, not being truthful, releasing a confidential report and not respecting his superiors. He was also accused of revealing police tactics, arguing it is not generally known officers were allowed to get naked.

The undercover officer was found to have acted in accordance with department policy when he took off his clothes and allowed the woman to perform acts of sex on him before arresting her. Bales’ firing has been upheld twice by the Fort Smith Civil Service Commission.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I’ve conducted hundreds of prostitution investigations if not thousands and everything from street level to organized prostitution. I’ve even had the opportunity to train other departments in the use of such tactics. Prostitution is governed by state law, so the elements of the crime can change from state-to-state. Yes, it’s not unusual for an undercover officer to engage in what would otherwise be criminal activity in order to make a case or an arrest. Consider a reverse sting in which the undercover officer sells real drugs to the suspect or an undercover drug buy where the undercover officer purchases drugs from the suspect. Even though this is often the case, it is generally frowned upon and always my recommendation that undercover officers never get naked and never engage in sex acts while working these types of cases. One of the main reasons why is because they don’t have to…that’s why we have confidential informants. Another reason is because of public perception. The public will generally not support the idea of an officer getting paid tax dollars while having sex on duty. Even if he only gets naked, it opens the door for accusations and Internal Affairs investigations. The use of confidential informants in this day and age, with the availability of state-of-the-art audio and visual monitoring equipment, in my opinion provides no excuse for using on-duty officers for such things. To further punctuate this, the existence of such audio and/or video evidence kept me out of the courtroom on such cases (the defendants pled).

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