A Menlo Park police detective arrested in Sunnyvale after being caught naked in a Motel 6 with a prostitute is still working for the city's law enforcement department.
According to an incident report from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety, officers went to the motel at 806 W. Ahwanee Ave. at about 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2011, to conduct a probation warrant search on 32-year-old Natalia Ramirez. When police opened the door, they found Ramirez dressed in a black cat suit with several rolled-up $20 bills tucked into her cleavage.
Inside the bathroom, they found Menlo Park police Officer Jeffrey Kenneth Vasquez unclothed and "on his knees on the bathroom floor," according to the report, which does not say what the 48-year-old man was doing other than to note it did not appear he was trying to destroy contraband.
Vasquez eventually told Sunnyvale police he's a Menlo Park officer, said he was there for sex and said he had found Ramirez on My Redbook, a website commonly used to advertise sexual services. Ramirez confirmed she was there as a prostitute, according to the police report.
The Menlo Park detective said he was on duty when he went to Sunnyvale to serve a subpoena and had an "hour to kill" because the person he was trying to serve wasn't home yet, according to the police report. It was not the first time he had solicited a prostitute for sex, he told the officers.
Throughout the incident, "Vasquez was remorseful and
fully cooperated with the investigation," according to the report. Asked by one officer why he would call a prostitute, Vasquez initially replied he didn't know, but a minute later said he was divorced and his mother had recently died.
"I feel like a loser," he told another officer.
According to the police report, Vasquez was released into the custody of two Menlo Park Police Department officers: Watch Commander Tim Brackett and internal affairs Sgt. Matt Brackett.
Charged with misdemeanor solicitation, Vasquez pleaded not guilty in June 2011 and by July his case was dismissed because the officer who interviewed Ramirez was unable to testify in court, according to Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Rob Baker, who supervised the case.
"The investigator's wife was extremely ill," Baker said. "I wasn't going to ask a person who was going through that to come to court and deal with a misdemeanor situation."
Baker said the case wasn't postponed because Ramirez had not waived her right to a speedy trial. Knowing that the Sunnyvale officer wasn't available to testify, Vasquez's attorney, William Rapoport, filed to have his client's case dismissed.
Baker said he wanted to prosecute both cases, but when Ramirez "got the benefit" of having her case dismissed, it "didn't sit well" with him to continue to go after Vasquez.
Officials from Menlo Park would not confirm that Vasquez had been arrested or discuss any disciplinary measures that may have been taken against him for the alleged crime.
According to The Almanac, a local print and online news outlet, Menlo Park had to reinstate the officer after he challenged the city's undisclosed disciplinary action against him. An arbitrator sided with Vasquez, according to a conversation an Almanac reporter overheard between City Manager Alex McIntyre and former city manager Glen Rojas while sitting near the men at a table in the Menlo Hub restaurant. McIntyre and Rojas did not identify Vasquez by name, but the Almanac reporter was able to track down the arrest information using information from the conversation about the officer's gender and tenure with the police department.
According to salary data provided by Menlo Park to The Daily News, Officer Jeffrey K. Vasquez earned a base salary of $133,468.78 in 2010 for a full year of service, and $111,056.87 in 2011, a year in which it is noted that he did not work the entire year.
Vasquez was not available for comment; he did not work on Tuesday, according to the police department. Rapoport did not respond to a request for comment.
Email Bonnie Eslinger at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow her at twitter.com/bonnieeslinger. ___