SEATTLE --Shy of the tragic outcome of Officer Rick Nelson's suicide, Seattle's top police brass said in this case the system of police policing themselves worked.
It's called an integrity test, a sting operation, carefully orchestrated to bait an officer. They can be risky and very dangerous and in this case, Nelson took the bait--a bag of cocaine.
The script was simple, a routine call that someone found a purse along a South Seattle street in it a bag of cocaine.
If all had gone according to policy and procedure, the purse and cocaine would have been booked into evidence here in the South Precinct.
A team of undercover investigators kept a close eye on Nelson, the cocaine was never entered into evidence.
As he was driving home, Nelson was pulled over, and police found the cocaine.
Word of trouble surrounding Nelson surfaced in July when officers were told to keep an eye on him. Officers noticed he had an unusually keen interest in drug arrests--that weren't his own, and would volunteer to book drugs into evidence.
The concerns were passed up the chain of command to the chief, who ordered the investigation. It all was a secret and complex set of maneuvers which required Nelson, who usually worked with a partner, to be on patrol alone.
The pieces fell into place Wednesday night. An investigator from an outside agency planted the drugs in the bag and turned it over to Nelson.
And now police are scrambing to see how far back the drug skimming may have gone on.
We have asked for an audit off all of the officer's involvement in any found property or any narcotic related events he may have been involved with the last couple years just to determine whether or not there may have been a pattern there, said Seattle Deputy Chief Nick Metz.
Integrity tests are considered controversial by many, seen as a legal entrapment, but more and more departments are using targeted stings.
Some like New York City perform random and routine integrity tests.