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La Crosse Officer Guilty

WXOW News out of LaCrosse reported that a police officer accused of stealing drugs out of the evidence room has pleaded guilty in a plea agreement. The former police lieutenant (he resigned his position) was charged back in August, after other officers conducted an in-house sting. Brian Thompson was suspected of taking evidence because of the inordinate amount of time he spent in the evidence locker – a secure area police use to store drugs and other items. This was not part of Thompson’s normal duties.

Court documents say that the La Crosse Assistant Police Chief instructed Thompson’s supervisor to offer bait. A duffel bag with clothing and a bottle of fake Oxycontin pills was used. Thomson was asked to check the bag and admit it into evidence. Video cameras recorded Thomson riffling through the bag and then he subsequently claimed there were only clothes in it. The fake pills were found to be missing. Later, Thomson admitted to fellow officers that he had taken the pills.

The plea agreement stipulates no jail time but rather, three years probation for the offense. Arguably, the worse punishment is losing his career as an officer and the respect of the community. Thomson admitted to having a drug problem and said he’d taken methamphetamine from the evidence room as well.

The hope is that Thomson will get help for his drug abuse problem. Clearly, if he lost his job over it, he has a real problem. And unfortunately, this will continue to happen with other officers in other departments – they are as human as anyone else and subject to the power of illicit drug abuse. If there’s a silver lining, it might be that this case demonstrates conclusively that there are enough ethical and honest officers around to keep the “blue shield” from protecting those that drift outside the lines. It’s no small matter for a police lieutenant to get busted and his position didn’t prevent it.

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