Prostitution sting prompts review
A routine prostitution case in Clark County District Court raised questions Friday about the rules of engagement for Vancouver police officers conducting prostitution stings.A jury needed less than 20 minutes to convict 29-year-old Tierra Salmon of Portland of misdemeanor prostitution. The conviction resulted from an undercover sting operation instigated last April by a Vancouver police detective, who went undercover as a john and met Salmon at a local motel. It wasn’t the charge against Salmon that raised eyebrows.In the daylong trial in Judge Vernon Schreiber’s courtroom, Vancouver police Detective Jeremy Free admitted on the stand to exposing himself to the woman upon her request. She touched his genitals and he fondled her breast, he said.On cue from Free, officers in a separate motel room who were watching via a video camera came inside the room to detain and question the woman. Salmon was then cited on suspicion of prostitution.Free testified that during the April 23 incident, it was rare to go as far as he did, but he hinted that other undercover officers have engaged in physical contact with prostitutes. He also said it’s crucial in an investigation to play the part.