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Former Robbinsdale Police Chief Among 11 Arrested in Prostitution Sting

Updated: 03/25/2014 5:24 AM
Created: 03/24/2014 12:47 PM KSTP.com
By: Beth McDonough

Former Robbinsdale Police Chief Steven Smith was charged Monday with a misdemeanor, accused of engaging in prostitution.

According to police records, Smith allegedly texted someone who he thought was a prostitute, agreeing to pay $150 for oral sex "and more," according to text messages from Smith's phone, obtained in the police investigation.

Smith resigned over the weekend as city officials learned he had been arrested in the Coon Rapids prostitution sting and used Backpage.com to solicit sex, according to the Robbinsdale Acting Police Chief Jim Franzen.

Franzen said the incident involving Smith took place at 12:50 p.m. - the middle of a workday in February.

"That's not good to happen Thursday, not good for the chief law enforcement officer of our city, it's a black eye," according to Robbinsdale City Council Member Bill Blonigan.

Coon Rapids police said 11 people were arrested and cited for hiring and engaging in prostitution, including Smith, during the sting conducted Feb. 20 at an undisclosed home.

Coon Rapids police said the first time they became aware Smith was a member of Robbinsdale law enforcement was March 19, when a staff member recognized Smith's picture while preparing case documents.

Smith handed in his resignation to the city manager Saturday morning, which was the first time Robbinsdale city officials were made aware of the situation. "There's a gap in time that raises suspicions with people as to when did we know, in all honesty we didn't know - it was a secret he kept to himself," according to Franzen.

While there's no written rule that a police officer identify themselves if arrested, going forward, Franzen says there is an expectation, "anytime law enforcement gets in trouble they need to report that right away, obviously that didn't happen."

The Peace Officer Standards and Training, known as POST, told KSTP Smith had 90 days to report the offense, which is the licensing requirement. He did it in 30 days.

Former Robbinsdale Police Chief Steven Smith was arrested after offering to pay for sexual services in February.
Photo: Coon Rapids Police Department
Former Robbinsdale Police Chief Steven Smith
Photo: Anoka County Sheriff's Office

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