Cape Girardeau, Missouri, made the Week Online only last week, after a local judge ruled that simply buying Sudafed and watch batteries was not a sufficient reason for narcs to stop and search someone (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/285.html#coldpills). But Cape Girardeau narcs have been busy on other fronts as well, and now one of them, former narcotics detective Paul Tipler, 35, has earned himself a nomination for this feature. On May 1, Tipler was indicted for stealing cash and crack cocaine and using it to buy the services of prostitutes.
Tipler was charged with one felony count of stealing drug buy money from the department, two felony counts of distribution of a controlled substance, two felony counts of evidence tampering, two felony counts of forgery, three misdemeanor counts of patronizing prostitution, and one misdemeanor count of possession of a defaced firearm. The charges carry punishments ranging from six months in jail for the misdemeanors to 15 years in prison for the drug distribution felonies.
According to the indictment against him, over a two-year period Tipler took at least $750 that was supposed to be used for undercover drug buys and instead spent it on prostitutes. He is also accused of pocketing drugs seized during arrests and using the pilfered crack cocaine as payments to prostitutes. Although Tipler filled out forms indicating department money was used to buy information about drug deals, at least three women told Missouri Highway Patrol investigators that he used the money to buy sex acts from them.
Cape Girardeau Police Chief Robert Strong told the Southeast Missourian that as a narcotics officer, Tipler often worked alone and unsupervised. He has decided to change that policy. "Officers in the future will work with a partner in these investigations," he said. "This is to help eliminate any possibility of wrongdoing and to protect an officer should allegations be made he did anything improper."
Strong also mouthed the de rigeur words of shock and disappointment. "Initially, it was a great deal of disappointment for me," Strong said of the allegations. "I had placed a lot of faith in Tipler when he was working here. And, quite frankly, he let the entire department down."
Tipler remains free on $10,000 bail pending trial.