An undercover operation by the Coon Rapids Police Department last month led to the arrest of 11 men allegedly looking to engage in prostitution.
One of those cited for a general misdemeanor prostitution crime included Ham Lake resident Steven Douglas Smith, who until his resignation this weekend was the Robbinsdale chief of police.
Smith was arrested Feb. 20 in a sting staged at a Coon Rapids apartment. Smith was charged Monday in Anoka County District Court.
According to Coon Rapids Police Chief Brad Wise, last week, while preparing case documents, a member of the department recognized Smith.
According to Wise, officers who arrested Smith did not recognize him, and Smith did not identify himself as an officer.
“Law enforcement agencies generally do not make it a practice to track down employers to notify them of an employee’s arrest unless it is done to protect the public from potential danger,” Wise said in a statement Monday.
Wise also said the Coon Rapids Police Department has a policy requiring officers to self-report if they have been arrested.
According to police reports, a Coon Rapids Detective placed a sexually suggestive ad under the “Escorts” section of BackPage.com last month as part of an undercover operation targeting human trafficking. This included rates for services as well as a contact number, which was an undercover police cell phone.
The ad, which read “Sick of winter? Come see how Sommer feels,” was posted three times, after which police allegedly exchanged text messages with potential “johns.”
According to the report, a total of 11 men were arrested in separate incidents after communicating by phone or text message with an undercover officer and arriving at the Coon Rapids apartment for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.
Monday, Coon Rapids police released photos of a text message conversation, allegedly between Smith and the undercover officer posing as “Sommer” that included discussion of specific sex acts and payment.
Coon Rapids police are not releasing the exact location of the apartment used in the undercover operation.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]