Minnesota police chief steps down after arrest in neighboring town during prostitution sting

By Travis Gettys
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 8:20 EDT
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Steven Smith
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A Minnesota police chief resigned Saturday after his arrest last month during a prostitution sting.

Steven Smith stepped down abruptly from his post in Robbinsdale after police in neighboring Coon Rapids arrested him Feb. 20 when he answered an online personal ad.

Investigators said Smith responded to the ad on Backpage.com and sent a string of lewd texts under the alias “Scott.”

He was taken into custody at an apartment building after police said he paid $150 cash for sex and offered an additional $50 for sex without a condom.

Police said they had audio recordings, cash, and photographic evidence related to the arrest of Smith and 10 other johns in the prostitution sting.

The Coon Rapids police chief said Smith never identified himself as a law enforcement officer and went unrecognized by other officers, but he said that would not have mattered to investigators.

“Anyone answering a Backpage or similar ad that says to meet in Coon Rapids, don’t do it,” said Police Chief Brad Wise. “You will be arrested no matter who you are.”

A Coon Rapids police employee recognized Smith’s photograph March 19 while preparing case documents at the request of defense attorneys.

City officials in Robbinsdale first learned of the arrest over the weekend, and they did not say whether Smith had violated department policies for self-reporting such offenses.

Smith has 90 days to report the offense to the Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, and he faces a letter of reprimand or the revocation of his license if he’s convicted.

Watch this video report posted online by WFTC-TV:


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