by: David Ham Updated:
GRANITE FALLS, Wash. - Granite Falls officer Patrick White told city officials that he had a police chief identification card made because he thought it was a "fun, novelty item," and also believed that he was serving in the role of chief, according to a letter of reprimand.
As punishment, he was demoted from sergeant to patrol officer and was given two-week suspension without pay by Mayor Haroon Saleem.
"His explanation was it was kind of a novelty item he didn't mean anything by it," said Mayor Saleem.
The police chief's badge was also found in White's patrol car.
An internal investigation showed that there was no evidence that White flashed the ID or the badge to anyone.
White told Saleem that former Police Chief Dennis Taylor knew about the fake ID a year ago.
Taylor was fired by the city earlier this month.
Before he was fired, White filed a whistle-blower complaint against Taylor, saying White was ordered to destroy emails.
Taylor told KIRO7 on the phone that wasn't true and that he did not know about the fake ID beforehand.
Saleem wouldn't say if he thought the fake ID incident was in retaliation for the whistle-blower complaint.
"What went wrong and where it went wrong I have no idea," said Saleem.
We left several messages with White for his response.
He is appealing the punishment.
According to a reprimand letter sent to him, the mayor wrote to him, "You did not believe that you did anything worthy of discipline, but to the extent I concluded otherwise, you were sorry."
Police union representative Officer Rich Rutherford wouldn't comment on the case when we caught up to him at City Hall.
Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe said that it will be a couple of weeks before his office decides whether or not to file criminal charges for the fake identification.
Saleem said if White is charged with a crime for this incident and is convicted he will be fired.