ANCHORAGE — Anchorage Police Department recruits in 2011 were warned on their first day of police academy training that inappropriate behavior on duty would not be tolerated, according to Chief Mark Mew.
A rookie officer from that class pleaded guilty this week to illegally looking up information about a woman he arrested and eventually engaged in a relationship
Former officer Mark Moeller on Monday was convicted of criminal use of a computer and misuse of confidential information. Mew said it was disappointing that the department would put so much time and money into training just to have an officer dismissed for misconduct, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“I can’t believe this guy didn’t understand the expectations,” Mew said.
Moeller declined comment after the change of plea hearing. As part of the plea deal, he must permanently give up state certification to be an Alaska law enforcement officer.
The department hired Moeller, 25, in October 2011. He completed academy training in April 2012.
Police said Moeller in December 2012 arrested a suspected intoxicated driver near Eagle River and days later started calling her.
The rookie officer contacted municipal prosecutors four times within a month asking for the drunken driving charges to be dropped, according to charging documents.
Prosecutors said he used the statewide law enforcement database, the Alaska Public Safety Information Network, to check on the woman’s license. He looked up records on her former boyfriend and on his own wife’s sister, according to charging documents.
Repeated inquiries to the prosecutor led to a call to police supervisors. Moeller had by January established a relationship with the woman he arrested, police said.
He was confronted by internal investigators and he resigned in February. He was charged in March.
Municipal prosecutors dropped the charges against the arrested woman. Mew said prosecuting the woman would have been difficult.
“Certainly having the officer interfering in the case and having a relationship with the defendant does not help our ability to get this thing through to trial,” Mew said.