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Former Police Officer Pleads Guilty To Lying Under Oath, Falsifying Record; Sentenced To Community Service

A former Bingen-White Salmon police officer accused of doctoring an official police report and obtaining a search warrant under false pretenses has been sentenced to perform 30 days of supervised community service and pay $1,700 in court fees and restitution over the next 24 months as punishment for his crimes.

Benjamin M. Harvey, 30, of White Salmon, and the Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office entered into a plea bargain on March 25 in which Harvey agreed to plead guilty in Superior Court to one count of false swearing and one count of making false or misleading statements to a public servant in exchange for 24 months of court-supervised probation. A mitigating factor in the decision was Harvey’s lack of a criminal record prior to this case.

Each count carried a penalty of one year in jail and a fine of $5,000. The majority of the jail time (334 days) and fines were suspended, and 30 days of jail time were converted to community service supervised by the Klickitat County Adult Probation Department. Moreover, Harvey is required to make a $500 contribution to both the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department and the Skamania County Investigation Fund.

Harvey committed the crimes on May 1, 2012, in the performance of his official duties as an officer with the Bingen-White Salmon Police Department. While conducting a warrant search of an impounded vehicle, Harvey came across a gun, removed it, placed it in his patrol car, and took it back to police headquarters for processing. However, the initial warrant Harvey got from West District Court and used to search the vehicle did not authorize him to take custody of the gun.

Harvey returned to West District Court with a new warrant application and received authorization to search for the gun he had discovered in his prior search. Harvey replaced the gun in the vehicle at the impound yard then removed it per the second search warrant. When he returned to his office, Harvey fixed the inventory report to cover up the fact he had taken custody of the gun without legal authority.

The Skamania County Sheriff’s Office conducted an investigation of Harvey’s actions at the request of the City of White Salmon. The investigating detective concluded Harvey was guilty of committing two class C felonies: one count of perjury in the second degree and one count of offering false instrument for record or filing.

The Klickitat County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office brought the charges on May 24, 2012.

City of White Salmon officials declined to comment publicly for this story.

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